Novel, 2001, 228 pp.
In the land of Niurne, Mina Cole hides her femininity by dressing and working like an indentured boy toiling at the mills. Mina is unaware that she possesses strong magic inherited from her Unseelie father. She is oblivious until an accident at the water powered mill where she in disguise works forces Mina to inadvertently use her innate power.
In the city of Dere, a paralyzed from the waist down Duncan RiDahn is the mentor of the feylings (half-breeds). He teaches his charges how to hide in plain sight because if exposed the Seelie Court will hunt them as they did him thirty-five years ago. Mina's display of magic comes to the respective attention of the Seelie leadership and Duncan. Out of control, her magic could cause devastation, but will Duncan save the frightened Mina not just from the hunters, but from the first stirring of his heart since he lost his beloved when he lost the use of his legs?
The powerfully descriptive WINTER'S ORPHANS is a wonderful fantasy tale focusing on an underground movement of a hybrid race trying to survive while purebreds oppress them out of fear. The strength of the tale resides in the belief that the Seelie, Unseelie, and Feylings exist on the real world of Niurne. Elaine Corvidae accomplishes this difficult feat because the cast, regardless of racial makeup and in spite of the classic romance between Duncan and Mina, seem bona fide so that the audience visits an orb that serves as the center of a fabulous fantasy thriller.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner