has also reviewed:

Flowers by Moonlight

As Lydia Browne:

Snowflake Wishes

 
Kissed by Starlight by Lynn Bailey
Jove, $5.99, PG-13 (ISBN 0-515-12505-9)
****
Kissed by Starlight is the latest well-crafted fantasy romance by the talented Ms. Bailey. There's lots of myth and magic in this enjoyable story: it's part fable and part Cinderella.

In Ms. Bailey's previous romance, Flowers By Moonlight, readers were introduced to Blaic, a handsome prince from the land of the fairies. Because he helped the daughter of his King to marry a mortal, he was turned into a stone statute and forbidden to ever return to his beloved people. His only chance of regaining his form is if a woman weeps over him.

The illegitimate daughter of a nobleman, Felicity Starret knew love from two people after her mother died: her father and her younger half-sister, Clarice. Now her beloved father is dead and she has no one to protect her.

Felicity's stepmother never wanted her and looks forward to sending her away. Her father's good friend wants to make Felicity his mistress. Clarice cannot protect her because a riding mishap has turned Clarice's mind into that of a very young child.

Upset by her father's death, Felicity runs into the garden where Blaic's statue stands. Feeling the statute's sorrow, its hungry yearning for life, Felicity empathizes and weeps for it. After seven centuries Blaic is returned to his handsome fairy form but he is not free, he is obligated to serve Felicity because she, a mortal, touched him.

Felicity only half believes in Blaic and she does not want anything from him, but when he tells her he can make her sister whole again, she decides to accept his help. However, even after Clarice regains her faculties, Blaic continues to watch over Felicity although they cannot touch because it would make him a slave to her every whim.

Felicity cares for Blaic and wants him to return to his former life, a life he loves; she wants him to be with his own kind. She does not know that Blaic cannot return to his people until he meets the final condition of his curse: he must betray the woman who set him free.

I've always had a soft spot for characters that have weathered adversity and become stronger. I felt that I understood Felicity's character, and certainly she is worth rooting for, but I would have liked a little more explanation about the years with her mother. These were supposed to be terrible years of poverty and uncertainty for Felicity, yet I never really got a clear picture of what her life was like during that time.

Still, Kissed by Starlight is a strong, emotional tale of love and betrayal. Felicity and Blaic are fully developed characters, each with strengths and weaknesses that make them interesting and easy to empathize with. The differences that separate them are heartfelt: the agony of wanting someone you can't touch is wonderfully conveyed in this magical romance.

--Judith Flavell


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