Stars: 4 / 5
Once Upon A Castle is a collection of four novellas by famed romantic authors - Nora Roberts, Jill Gregory, Ruth Ryan Langan and Marianne Willman - published in March of 1998. The fourth novella is titled DragonSpell and written by Marianne Willman. I had been reading a few non-fiction and lengthy fictions past few weeks so I wanted to pick an easy book this time. Hence this novella. Here's the review on the fourth story in the collection.
In Kingdom of Amelonia, Princess Tressalara - daughter of King Varro - is being groomed by her lady-in-waiting to become as best a princess she can be, shedding her tomboy life. Tired at that exercise the princess runs to her room to change into a peasant boy's garb. With her hair braided a tucked under the cap she was hardly recognizable. Perhaps that's what saved her from Lord Lector. When Lord Lector - the King's chief advisor - had attacked the palace and taken over it by killing the King. It was also rumored that he had been responsible for the bloody raids into their neighbors but blamed on outlawed Lord Cador of Kildore. But Tressalara was caught by Lector's me when she went back to check on her father and now she was to wed Lector - the one who had killed her father. And her father had entrusted her to safe keep the Andun Stone - the place of secret that she has no knowledge of. How will she save herself let alone the stone from the clutches of Lector? And eventually she concocts a plan with her maid-in-waiting Elani and escapes the castle through secret passages transformed as a boy named Trev.
All these happenings were being watched by an apprentice sorceress - Niniane - an apprentice wizard - Illusius who regret about the wrong-spell that had been cast upon their master - Myrriden - who is now encased in a glittering sheet of Spell-Ice. What has these three to do with what happened in Kingdomof Amelonia? Illusius and Niniane together push the paths of Lord Cador and Tressalara to meet. As designed by them, Tressalara "Trev" meets Cador and his rebel men at the Crown and Acorn inn, gets a job with his group as a groomsman for their horses. Knowing the history of Cador, will Tressalara reach out to him for help? Is Cador as cruel as Lector had made him to be? What is the history between Lector and Cador? Has Cador realized that Trev is indeed Princess Tressalara? What is Tressalara going to do about all the feelings sprouting inside her since she meets Cador? To what extent will Lector go to acquire the Princess as well as the Stone? What is the hidden sectet of the Andun Stone?
An interesting tale again involving castles, warriors, traitors, rebels, love and battles. This plot sang to the adventurer in me, touched the romantic in me, marveled the mystic in me and seized the warrior in me. A refreshing and smooth plot for those fast readers and readers who have less time at their hands.
1) The plot charmed me so much that I might look for this author's books for future reads. When I looked about her on Google, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot written about her and her last book was in 2002. I do hope she has retired or is just not in public facing anymore. I dread to think of the third alternative.