Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Coronets and Steel
Sherwood Smith

DAW paperback
September 2011 / ISBN-10: 0756406986

Reviewed by Carmen Ferreiro

Coronets and Steel is a delightful combination of The Prisoner of Zenda and Xanadu with a strong female protagonist who fences like Douglas Faribanks Jr. in the 1937 movie, and waltzes like a well-bred princess in the royal ball.

The story starts in Vienna where Kim, a twenty-year-old Californian, has come in search of her grandmother's ancestors. So far, she has had no luck, but then she sees her first ghost -- a beautiful lady dressed in a magnificent early nineteenth-century gown -- and follows her. The ghost's encounter eventually leads her to meet Alec, the crown prince of a small Eastern European country, who mistakes her for his fiancée, Ruli, and kidnaps her.

Now Alec and his fiancée have no love for each other, but marry they must in order to stop a long-running feud between their families and initiate a Xanadu kind of magic trick that will keep the kingdom safe. The problem is that Ruli is gone, and Kim's arrival only complicates things.

The novel unfolds slowly, without ever dragging, and the reader --skeptical at first like Kim-- comes to believe and love this magical country where fairies do exist - - and maybe even vampires -- and hope for a happy ending of the romance that, inevitably, develops between the characters.

This was an enjoyable read which I highly recommend to those who love adventure, political intrigue, and a sweet romance.

Be warned that this is the first volume of a series, and the situation is not resolved here. The fact that I was really upset by this only proves how much I was caught up in the story.

Reviewer Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban is the author of a YA fantasy Two Moon Princess and four nonfiction titles.
Reviewed 2011
© 2011