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WILDWOOD DANCING by Juliet Marillier

I come from a large family of mostly girls. There's six girls and two boys in my family. And since my mother's remarried I have two more step-sisters. You can say, I know what's it's like to grow up with mostly girls. When reading WILDWOOD DANCING the beginning caught my attention:

I've heard it said that girls can't keep secrets. That's wrong: we'd proved it. We'd kept ours for years and years, ever since we came to live at Piscul Dracului and stumbled on the way into the Other Kingdom.

I wanted to know more about these sisters and a secret they were able to keep from everyone. Believe me, secrets were something that was hard if not impossible to keep in the Baccellia household. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be able to visit the world of fairy through a portal and keep my mouth shut. Throw in a lush historical setting and a tale of three children who wish for something that comes with a huge cost and you have one exciting story.




Jena and her sisters visit the Other Kingdom every full moon. Then her father is sick and leaves Jena to watch over Piscul Dracului until he comes back in the Spring. Things start going wrong when Night People visit during the full moon visit and one of them, Shadow, takes an interest in her sister Tati.

Cezar, a childhood friend who once saved her life as a five-year-old, shows up. He starts to take over the responsibilities of Piscul Dracului to the point of making the sisters prisoners in their own home. Jena can't forget that terrible night when Cezar and his brother Costi make a wish to the witch Draguta, a wish that came with a horrible cost.

Jena's only ally is her frog Gogu who she takes everywhere. She can hear Gogu's thoughts and heeds his warnings about what's going on around her.

Just when things couldn't get worse, a young girl is found dead. The town blames the Night People. Cezar gets more controlling and senses the girls know something. Jena knows she must seek out the fairy queen and ask for help. The answer she gets will shock her. Everything goes back to the fateful day when she and her cousins made their wishes. You really do need to be careful what you wish for.

I really enjoyed this story. The historical setting of Transylvania gave this tale a rich backdrop. I especially liked the character Jena and her struggles to know what to do with her home and sisters. The frog Gogu was an interesting twist. I admit, I used to have frogs as pets too but nothing like Jena's!

The whole premise of being careful what you wish for worked throughout the story. The author does a great job showing both the world of fairy and Night People. The author writes in her notes the background of the whole vampire mythology. She also traveled to the country and visited both well-known attractions and places off the beaten track. I sensed this while reading this story.

I recommend WILDWOOD DANCING for those who love urban fantasies with lush backdrops and engaging characters.

WILDWOOD DANCING is a Cybils nominated book.