Once a child who didn't realize the way things were, Coriel loved spending her summers at Castle Auburn with her half-sister.
Now, a grown-up who realizes the way things are, she now hates these "wasted" summers, and wishes to be back in the village with her grandmother making potions.
This report prepared by Kate
The book begins with Corie as a young girl, half-sister to the woman about to marry the prince. Corie herself is starry-eyed over the prince, but firmly believes that her sister should marry him and is lucky to do so. She's a romantic at heart and believes they will be happy together. Corie goes on a hunting trip with her uncle, the prince, and a few others. Their goal is to capture one of the magical aliora, entrancing humanoid beings. It's commonly believed that aliora capture unwary humans and enslave or kill them, so no one feels very bad about enslaving the beings themselves. As Corie grows up, however, she begins to see everything in her life in a new light. She becomes less certain about the rightness of enslaving aliora, and she begins to really see the prince for who he is. When she was young, everyone at court was what he or she appeared to be, but now she begins to see the intrigues. She doesn't know what to think of anyone anymore, and her life becomes more restricted as her uncle and others try to arrange politically advantageous marriages for her.
This report prepared by Melissa Cookson
Ace, May 2001, 14.95, 355 pp.
Her father is noble, but her mother is not and besides they never wed. Coriel Halsing spends much of the year under the tutelage of her grandmother who is teaching her to become a herbalist or perhaps a witch depending on your perspective. One season of the year she spends at Castle Auburn home of her sire and her older half-sister.
As she matures, Coriel becomes concerned with her patriarchal family and the royalty's hunt for the Aliora, a fairy-like people that the humans enslave. Soon, instead of the delight she once saw during her youthful summers at the Castle, Coriel observes prejudice and injustice. Still, her teen obsession with the spoiled Prince Bryan has turned to adult admiration and seemingly unrequited love for his levelheaded relative Kent. Realistically alone because of her divided heritage, Coriel wonders what one intrepid but frightened woman can do to make things right.
SUMMERS AT CASTLE AUBURN is an enjoyable medieval romantic fantasy showing why Sharon Shinn is an award-winning author. The tale is filled with action sprinkled with Faerie dust and solid characters. Though romance readers will relish the growing affection between Kent and Coriel, fantasy fans will feel a bit slighted as the Faerie community offers possibilities, but never is explored. Still, Ms Shinn provides her audience with a delightful novel that readers will demand sequels with more than just a paranormal dusting.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner