Candlewick Press, 2013
Princess Adela is not a typical princess. She's neither particularly beautiful nor particularly graceful, and she'd rather spend her days digging new plots for her garden than listening to teatime gossip. But when her friend Garth is invited to a garden party hosted by Lady Hortensia, whose beauty is said to be rivaled only by the loveliness of her gardens, Adela can't resist coming along, even if it means stuffing herself into a too-tight dress and donning impractical shoes. But the moment Adela sets eyes on Hortensia's garden, she knows something is amiss. Every single flower is in bloom in the middle of October. Not only that, there is a talking magpie flitting about the garden and stealing the guests' jewels. Is it possible that Hortensia is a witch and the magpie an enchanted prince? Will Adela get to the root of the mystery and nip trouble in the bud before it's too late?
"Unvarnished storytelling, a solid backstory, and a strong cast of characters ground the tale. Children will readily identify with Adela’s painful doubts about whether anyone will see the beauty and strength within her... An original fairy tale that will suit young romantics to a T."
"What could have been just another fairy tale hints at a rich backstory and sweeps the reader into a bewitching adventure. The book is neatly paced, particularly in the latter half, when the chapters alternate between Edward and Adele. A solid choice for reluctant readers, this clever tale has an open ending that paves the way for a sequel." --Booklist
The Idea Behind the Story
Even before my first novel, The Book of Story Beginnings, was published, I tried very hard to write a sequel. I thought I had an idea. I worked on the idea, and the idea failed! That can happen sometimes. Nevertheless, I held on to one aspect of my idea, which was a story beginning about a hard-working and not-so-beautiful princess who likes to garden and a mysterious and extremely beautiful woman with a garden full of flowers that never die. As the plot took shape, a talking magpie worked his way into the manuscript.