“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.” Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.
Sissy: Bubby volunteered at Teen Author Boot Camp (TABC) recently and came home with a pile of books that she’d purchased from various featured authors there. There is nothing more fabulous for me than what happens after Bubby has read through them all with her lightning fast reading super power–she hands the whole pile over to me. Yippee! The author of today’s book, Kiersten White, was actually at TABC and Bubby stood right next to her, not knowing who she was. After reading this fabulous book, Bubby now wishes to have been able to spend lots of quality time with this oh so clever, hilarious and witty author. You may wonder what Illusions of Fate has to do with our Island Theme this week. Bubby? Care to enlighten?
Bubby: Absolutely. We once again have a beautiful island born heroine, this time from the fictional island of Melei. It sounds like a lovely place, full of warmth, charming people, delicious food and flowers like the Fire-Petal, a riot of scarlet blooms and green foliage. It sounds like a mix between Jamaica, India and Tonga, three more places that I haven’t been yet. And yes, Sissy has been to Tonga because she’s the older sister and life isn’t fair. But she hasn’t been to Jamaica or India! Yet. At any rate, our heroine Jessamin finds herself in the fictional country of Albion (which seems a lot like Victorian England), a place where the color of her skin and hair is unusual and unappreciated. I’m so glad that we’ve become more enlightened these days. True beauty is reflected from the soul and can be found housed in any type of body – short or tall, thin or fat, dark or fair, old or young.
Sissy: The citizens of Albion also, like those of Victorian England, consider themselves to be superior to the “natives” of any of their colonies and also do not value women. Jessamin is extremely smart and excels in mathematics but is not allowed to study it because “alas, the feminine mind is not suited to the mathematical arts.” Too bad that the shallow, misogynistic nobility don’t realize that Jessamin’s “feminine mind” is what will save them all in the end. I imagine Jessamine might look like one of our beautiful European-Polynesian mixed nieces–pick one–they’re all gorgeous!
Bubby: They are beautiful, aren’t they? I must talk about my new book boyfriend Finn. He’s just so yummy. When he and Jessamin first meet, he is so taken by her beauty and intelligence that he falls for her instantly. He falls so hard, in fact, that his shadow leaves him and attaches to her – evidently a rare occurrence among the magical nobility of Albion that means that they are soul mates. Jessamin, although half-Albion, (I’d talk more about her Albion father but he makes me too angry) is neither nobility nor magical but it makes no difference. From the get-go, Finn’s heart belongs to her. He is kind and self-sacrificing, sweet, loving, all the wonderful things you could ever want in a romantic lead. And he’s cute, too. As much as I love Jessamin and Finn, though, my favorite character by far is Eleanor. I want to be her!
Sissy: Eleanor, an Albion noblewoman, becomes Jessamin’s unlikely friend and ally and prides herself on being the biggest gossip in Albion society. The fantastic thing about Eleanor is that she pretends to be the vapid and obedient maiden that society requires but in reality she’s a sharp-witted, conniving, pot-stirring, magically adept, hilariously funny and loyal woman. There are elements that draw me to a novel, like a good plot, great twist, magic, and of course a romance, but what puts a book over the edge into fabulous for me is sparkling, quick-witted dialogue. Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White is jam-packed with it. I want to read everything she’s ever written. If I was going to give this book a rating, it’d be five out of five. Plus bonus points for super creepy black birds that turn into books.
Bubby: The “great twist” in Illusions of Fate was so shocking, so jaw-droppingly awesome that I’m still reeling from it. I could go on for days about my love affair with this story, but Sissy would smack me, so I’ll just end with this quote from Kiersten White herself. “Illusions of Fate, a dreamy historical fantasy, wants to be your new boyfriend. It’s a really good kisser.” Amen!