Author: Ebony McKenna
Release date: 7th February 2011 UK
Genre: Fairytale Fantasy
Target audience: 11+
UK Publisher: Egmont
Summary from Amazon:
One boy, one girl, one plot to be foiled! Hamish the gorgeous man (and part time ferret) has a new job with the Duke as a spy in his Autumn Palace. So Ondine goes with him. She imagines a hugely romantic escapade together that involves lots of kissing. What she hadn't imagined was having to do endless laundry, go to school and keep Hamish the man a secret. All the while trying to find out who is plotting to kill the Duke. And if that weren't bad enough, it seems that Hamish is more interested in getting the Duke's attention than hers. Plus he's always in ferret form. Things can't go on like this! Can Ondine foil the would-be assassin, save the Duke and get her man back in gorgeous human form? It's going to take a little bit of magic, a lot of stolen kisses and some ferreting around...
Ondine: The Autumn Palace is the second book in the fairytale adventures of Ondine and the love of her life – Hamish. The story is just as humorous and endearing as The Summer of Shambles and is even more evocative of the romantic fairytale setting.
The story begins with Ondine and Hamish ready to take a train journey to visit the Duke. Hamish is ready to take on his role as a royal spy and Ondine is ready to agree to anything the Duke asks of her if it means she gets to stay with her beloved. The troubles begin when Old Aunt Col arrives to play chaperone to the couple and journeys with them to the Duke’s Autumn Palace. From the moment they arrive shocking and disastrously funny magic happens. Think raining cats and dogs with an Ebony McKenna twist on it.
Ondine and Hamish take on their new employment hoping to spend every spare minute together. But their respective careers are rather demanding and they hardly have time to spare for a split-second kiss. Time is running out for the couple because if they can’t discover who has it in for the Duke, Ondine will be sent back to her parents and be love sick without her sweetheart.
The plot is a rather mix of magical fairytale fantasy and a “whodunit”. There are so many characters who would like to see the Duke removed from power that the young couple have their work cut out. I did realise fairly early on who wanted to kill the Duke but the mystery and fun was in the why and the particular methods.
The author delighted me in her characterisation of the main characters. Ondine is every bit as determined and diligent as she was in the first novel when it comes to practical tasks if not psychic ones. Hamish was just as charming and if anything revelled even more in ferreting mischief around the palace.
This novel is undoubtedly daft. You need a silly sense of humour to really get it. I am just the right type of person to enjoy this kooky, witty book. I loved the ending which was perfectly fairytale in its romance and idyllic setting. Ondine cast a spell over me but I still have one question: Will she ever find her inner witch?
Thank you to Egmont Books for sending the book to review.
Read for the 2011 Aussie YA Challenge