Sixteen year-old Yseult is beautiful.
She is also sarcastic, witty, bookish and loyal, but no one ever seems to notice those things. All anyone in the countryside of 19th Century France ever notices is that Yseult is a prime candidate for wifehood and would make a fine ornament for some lucky man to parade around as his own.
But there is nothing Yseult wants less than the locked cage of matrimony. So when an arranged marriage threatens to quash her independence forever, she stages her own death and escapes into an unknown—and likely perilous—future with nothing but an odd gypsy diary and a stolen flower to guide her.
She expects her flight to result in danger, even doom. She does not expect it to leave her in a utopia where enchantments are real, women are equal to men, and loves stronger than curses are born. When she meets René, a beastly-looking young man without the ability to perceive beauty, she discovers for the first time what it is like to be known and loved for who she is rather than what she looks like. But she also realizes that bits of who she is have been hidden from even her own knowledge, and that René has secrets of his own... secrets he seems determined to keep. So Yseult makes a reckless choice, and too soon understands that if she does not confront her heart and defy those who would break her, she will lose herself—and condemn René to the mercy of the curse that is killing him.
- Hanna C. Howard, March 2011
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