Sunday, October 12, 2014

Water Song by Suzanne Weyn

Water Song by Suzanne Weyn is a young adult retelling of The Frog Prince.

It's 1915, and Emma is trapped at her mother's family estate in Belgium, right on the front lines of World War I. When Jack, an American enlisted in the British army, flees a chlorine gas attack by climbing into the old well on the estate, circumstances conspire to bring the two young people together, dissimilar though they may be. And when German soldiers take over the estate for use as a command post, some quick thinking on Emma's part gains the pair temporary safety. As the days pass, their time appears to be running out. Can they escape the estate -- and will the tentative beginnings of a romance that has sprung up between them survive the rest of the war?

This is part of the "Once Upon a Time" series of young adult fantasy retellings, some of which I have quite enjoyed, but I found this one fairly weak. Part of the problem is that the only magic in the story is some folk magic Jack learned from his mother during his Louisiana boyhood, so this mostly ends up being historical fiction -- and not the best historical fiction, either. I'd likely forgive this to some extent if the characters had been more believable, but I never really bought into the romance between Jack and Emma, nor did I like either of them very much on their own. Much as I love fairy tale retellings, this isn't one I'm likely to recommend.

(Reviewed from my personally purchased copy.)

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