Author: Tracy Lynn.
The Duchess Jessica’s childhood began with a tragedy: her mother’s death. Her father, heartbroken at the loss of his beloved wife, could not bear to raise the child. Largely ignored, Jessica spent the first eleven years of her life running free on the family estate, cared for only by the servants. Then her father decides to remarry, bringing an end to Jessica’s independence. At first her new stepmother just seems overly strict. But as Jessica grows into a beautiful young woman, it becomes clear that her stepmother is also wildly — and murderously — jealous of her. Jessica escapes to London. Going by the name Snow to hide from her family, she falls in love with an odd band of outcasts who accept her into their makeshift family. But when her stepmother appears in the city, repentant and seeking her forgiveness, Jessica will have to decide whom to trust…with her life.
A short, fun, rather inventive retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It’s completely recognizable, although the author is quite loose with the connections – there aren’t even seven Lonely Ones to match the dwarfs. It wrapped up very quickly, and I felt like there was room to develop the characters much more than they were. Even Snow – the main character – while passable, fell flat for much of the story. And I wanted to know so much more about the Lonely Ones, how they came to be and what they’ll become. Really, it felt like an early draft of a good story, where premises are laid out but the author hasn’t really worked it out yet. Questions were left hanging everywhere, and there’s no promise of a sequel.
Sexual content: Character has her first period. Lady tries on a dress that “pushed her bust up very high and cinched her waist so tightly she could barely breathe”. Boy catches a girl alone and kisses her, grabbing at her inappropriately and against her will. Mention of a brothel. A kiss.
Language: 3 bloody, 1 derogatory name
Violence: Mother dies after giving birth. Character knees another character between the legs. One character pulls the feathers out of a hybrid character’s arms. Although it is off-screen, it is known that an ‘evil scientist’ type experimented with animal (and possibly human) babies, creating hybrids against their will.