Despite being a duchess, Jessica's life has been hard. Her mother died shortly after childbirth and her father blames her for his loss. She was raised by the cook and servants, but her happy childhood is cut short by the arrival of her stepmother. Anne is not a completely bad stepmother in the beginning. She is very interested in science and wants to turn Jessica into a proper lady. Anne uses mysterious means to try to conceive a child and only Alan, her minstrel, knows these means. He is forbidden from speaking the truth by an enchanted necklace and one of his job is to hold her magic mirror as she looks at her youthful beauty. Anne finally snaps when she cannot conceive a child and begins to take out her problems on Jessica. At that point Jessica becomes a servant and is renamed Snow. When her stepmother decides to take the most drastic measure of all, Snow flees to the city and meets the Lonely Ones, people who have animal body parts. The Lonely Ones grow to love Snow and try to protect her from her past and from her stepmother, who may not be finished with Snow.
I loved the twists with the Lonely Ones and with the stepmother being a scientist of sorts instead of just a witch. I did not see the romance coming in this book, so that was a nice surprise. This is my first book by Tracy Lynn and I enjoyed her writing!
Favorite Characters: Jessica/Snow. She is loyal and loving and willing to give second chances.
Favorite Quote: "My whole life I've searched for... another world, with adventures, and magic, and now that I have had a taste- I want to see more."
I love this series and this was a great addition. 4 cups of cocoa!