Today we hear from Bookbabbler Sarah…
Ondine: The Autumn Palace – Ebony McKenna
One boy, one girl, one plot to be foiled! Hamish the gorgeous man (and part time ferret) has a new job with the Duke as a spy in his Autumn Palace. So Ondine goes with him. She imagines a hugely romantic escapade together that involves lots of kissing. What she hadn’t imagined was having to do endless laundry, go to school and keep Hamish the man a secret. All the while trying to find out who is plotting to kill the Duke. And if that weren’t bad enough, it seems that Hamish is more interested in getting the Duke’s attention than hers. Plus he’s always in ferret form. Things can’t go on like this! Can Ondine foil the would-be assassin, save the Duke and get her man back in gorgeous human form? It’s going to take a little bit of magic, a lot of stolen kisses and some ferreting around…
Ondine: The Autumn Palace is the second novel in the series by Ebony McKenna. The story focuses Ondine, a teenage girl whose boyfriend, Hamish McPhee, flits between human and ferret form. The setting is the court of the Duke in Brugel; a mythical European country. The palace is a sprawling building and whilst Hamish and Ondine’s Aunt Col are set to work as the Duke’s spies, Ondine is sent to work in the laundry section and to the palace school.
There is a strong element of witchcraft in what is essentially a fantasy novel. Ondine herself has psychic powers and is able to read palms, whilst her Aunt is witch. I enjoyed the descriptions of Ondine’s powers such as her palm reading and her conflicting belief that she should not show what she really sees.
The novel is based around Ondine, Hamish and Aunt Col spying in the Duke’s household to see who would like to bring harm to the Duke. As with all great mystery novels things are not as they seem and the suspects change throughout. Parts of the ending did come as a surprise to me and I felt that the final third of the book really picked up pace and was quite exciting.
If you like fantasy and romance novels, you will love enjoy book. Ondine is a brilliant heroine and the description of the fictional palace and Brugel itself really got my imagination going.
My only real disappointment was that I felt that footnotes were over used throughout the whole story, whilst they can be very useful I thought that there were a few too many.
Thanks, Sarah, and thanks to Egmont Books for sending us a copy.