FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Patchwork Press (via NetGalley).
Series: Quintspinner Trilogy #1
November 11, 2011
Genre(s): Historical Romance (YA), Romantic Fantasy (YA)
Even in the year 1717, one month, one week, or one day, can make all the difference in the world.
One month and a day ago, Tess Willoughby was the daughter of a well-to-do physician in London.
One month ago, she witnessed the murder of an old seer and came into possession of the dead woman’s odd ring – an ancient Spinner ring, known by the locals as the Ring of Prophesy.
One month less a day ago, she was wrongly accused by her father of having stolen the ring.
Three weeks ago, by her father’s arrangement for the family, she became an unwilling passenger on a merchant ship bound for the pirate-infested waters of the Caribbean.
Two weeks ago, at her father’s insistence, she became forcibly betrothed to a man who she recognized as being the seer’s murderer – a man who covets her only for her ring.
One week ago, she met a sailor and experienced the thrill of being in love for the first time.
Two days ago, she realized that such a secret love would endanger them both, and, heart-broken, she was forced to choose her loyalty.
Yesterday, her fiancé betrayed her during a pirate attack and those she loved were slaughtered.
Today, she is plotting to save her own life and perhaps to take his in retribution. The ring is urging her to decide quickly...
Tomorrow will be too late.
A secret and unauthorized trip through the chaos of a 1717 London marketplace takes a bizarre twist for 16 year old Tess. Unexpectedly witnessing the murder of a renowned Seer, Tess becomes the keeper of the old woman's legendary spinner ring and its supposed power of prophecy. Returning home, Tess bears the brunt of her father's rage when he is informed of her disobedient excursion. An ensuing altercation with her father leads Tess to the discovery of a family secret that stuns her.
Even so, she never imagines that she will soon find herself forcibly betrothed to the murderer and trapped on a ship bound for the pirate-infested waters of the West Indies. With increasing dread, she realizes a growing attraction that she has for a handsome sailor puts both their lives at risk. Moreover, she quickly discovers that her ruthless fiance covets her only for her ring and its power, and will stop at nothing to obtain it for himself.
The stakes for survival become unbearably high when she is thrust into the hands of a marauding band of pirates, and she must make an agonizing and life-threatening choice for herself.
Upon witnessing a murder, priviledged Tess Willoughby’s life takes a sudden turn for bizarre and adventuresome. As if the death of the renowned London seer isn’t shocking enough, Tess is now charged with the keeping of the dead seer’s prophetic spinner ring, and a dangerous chain of events begins. There’s the revelation of a terrible family secret, Tess’s trapping on a merchant ship, and before she knows it, she’s unwittingly betrothed to the murderer himself, a man who wants nothing more than the power bestowed by the ring. Enter Will, an anomaly among the dirty, unpolished sailors, and the real heart-stopping adventure begins.
While part of a trilogy, in many ways, Quintspinner can easily be considered a standalone book, and I certainly appreciate that. When sagas break with huge cliffhangers, it tends to drive me a bit nuts. Still, I was left with a lot of questions, and some aspects of the story seemed to be forgotten in favor of the romantic aspect.
I will say I was a bit disappointed in the overall dark feeling of the book. I know that’s not exactly unheard of in young adult stories, especially not one that begins with a murder, but I expected something a little more lighthearted, even with the lurking danger that seemed to spring up from every crevice. Instead, there was a feeling of constant dread throughout the story, pained situations and scenes that were interrupted only by more danger, and while I enjoyed the infrequent moments of levity and hope, they were few and far between. There was violence, rape, and other harsh realities not really appropriate for younger readers. It’s a great story, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it to those on the youngest end of the young adult age group.
Quintspinner is a fast-paced tale of heart-stopping adventure and redeeming romance. Tess, despite her prviledged upbringing, is out of character with typical eighteenth century London, and that’s a wonderful thing, as it allowed her to be strong, willful, and independent. She’s an easy heroine to love, so it’s no wonder Will was taken with her. Will is also easy to love, his respect for Tess’s engagement speaking well of his character. His chemistry with and devotion to Tess helped lighten the otherwise dark and at times cruel tale.
Lovers of fantasy may be a little disappointed, as that aspect of the story seems to be little more than a backdrop, with the romance and relationship side taking center stage, but I suspect that may be more fully explored as the series continues. Even though the book wasn’t what I expected, it was still an incredibly enjoyable read, fraught with tension and action and edge-of-your-seat suspense, and I can’t wait to see where it goes in Deadly Misfortune.