A Winter’s Promise
The Mirror Visitor #1
by Christelle Dabos (translated from the French by Hildegarde Serle)
* * * * Stars (Great!)
Ophelia isn’t pleased when she’s informed of her arranged marriage that will take her away from the work she loves – running her family’s museum and reading the pasts of objects by handling them. Her fiancé unceremoniously whisks her away to his family’s ark at the Pole where she’s subjected to ridicule, violence, and the political machinations of various branches of his ancestor’s family as they strive for power and favor. Ophelia is mostly kept in the dark about her new home and her in-laws and has to figure a lot of things out on her own. While her talent for “reading” is what her new family contracted for, Ophelia has little chance to use it during the captivity phase of her betrothal – she’s kept locked up and then disguised as a servant so no one will suspect her true identity. The coldness of her reception and her husband to be don’t do anything to warm her to them or her situation. When she learns what her true value and purpose are to be, she desperately wants to cancel the arrangement, but it may be too late.
This is a truly weird and bizarrely imagined world and the first book just barely scratches the surface of it. Equal parts intriguing and frustrating – in my case the intrigue won out over the frustration. You’ll either REALLY want to know what’s going on and what’s going to happen next or you’ll be ready to shake Ophelia for not doing more to improve her situation. (Do I love it, do I hate it? I don’t know!) This is the first book in a four book series, so there’s definitely a lot more to come!
Reviewed by YA Librarian