The House of the Four Winds (One Dozen Daughters #1), Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory
Published August 5th 2014 by Tor Books
Hardcover, 304 pages
The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.
Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.
Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.
This was a fun and really cute read. It had an almost Disney movie feel to it-not a complicated story, sweet romance, light magic and a good happy ever after. The ruling family of the tiny country of Swansgaard have 12 daughters and one infant son. Each daughter must choose her own path to support herself when she turns 18. Princess Clarice is a gifted swordswoman and wants to instruct others, but knows she must first build her reputation beyond the classroom. Given a royal stipend Clarice transforms herself into Clarence Swann and sets out to find adventure. I loved Clarice! Loved having a princess who set out to the heroine of her own story. She has no bad feelings about her brother inheriting the kingdom, as she doesn’t want the responsibility, and off she goes into the sunset.
Clarice realizes to really have that adventure she needs to set sail for far away lands and so she signs on as a passenger on a merchant vessel. While on-board Clarice/Clarence becomes friends with the ship’s navigator Dominick. These two “young men” were kindred spirits and Clarice is having a wonderful time at first learning the ways of the sea from her new friend. Mutiny happens on board and Clarice finds herself helping Dominick to find a safe port for a ship of unintentional pirates in somewhat desperate conditions. She also finds herself falling in love with her friend just as she cannot confess her real identity.
From this point on is where I would have liked more description. They’re in a harbor of Pirates! How cool could this be? I definitely would have liked more of the back story of the House of the Four Winds and the sorceress in charge of it. Unfortunately for me Clarice and Dominick had to sail off from the House of the Four Winds with the story. I really did like where the book went ultimately though it seemed over too soon-I just would have taken more pirates happily. I mean
Anyway, I will add that this was not a sexy romance, this was a sweet romance. No smoldering Johnny Depp I’m afraid. This book could easily be YA with the PG-13 love affair between Clarice and Dominick. I’m not complaining-they were adorable! But I was a bit surprised that this was an adult book. In the end I really did like enjoy the House of the Four Winds and I’m intrigued to see where the series goes with Sister #2. I think Swansgaard will turn out some really fun women to follow.
Thank you Tor Books and NetGalley for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.