Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

Edric doesn't bother anyone. He ran away from home, got a job (gathering lost items in the forest), and taken up a cause (wrestling a piece of the Tooth Fairy business away from incompetent Queen Mab). He lives happily in his cave with his two dogs in the forest between the kingdoms of King Beufort and King Swithbert. You know, normal, everyday troll activities.

Then Christian quite literally wanders into his life. Chris has also run away from home, but he's only six, and he refuses to go back. Days become weeks, weeks become months, and pretty soon Ed finds himself the foster father of an 18-year-old!

All is well until Christian decides to send a message via p-mail (delivered by pigeon) to the princess. He can see her on the castle terrace across the river. She seems sad, but she reads a lot, and he's interested in what she's reading.

They start a correspondence and soon become friends, each promising to be a bulwork for the other. Then at the suggestion of Hayes Centaur, Chris finds a job at the castle, and on the first day finds himself face to face with Marigold, who doesn't know who he is. Nevertheless, there he is, ready to be Marigold's bulwork, helping her through a sick father (the king), a twisted mother (the queen), numerous suitors (Ugh!), and the arrest of a best friend (guess who?).

The law is the law. Royalty may only marry royalty. Peasants may not even speak to royalty, let alone marry a princess.

Everyone knows how fairy tales end, right? But finding out how the knots in this yarn untangle is marvelous. (Watch for the sequel, Twice Upon a Marigold, in the spring of 2008.)

Update: Twice Upon a Marigold is now released.

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