Author: Suzanne Weyn.
Published: October 24th 2006.
Publisher: Simon Pulse.
Sort: Stand alone in the ‘Once upon a time’ series.
Challenge(s): Fairytale & Bingo.
Young, beautiful, and wealthy, Emma Pennington is accustomed to a very comfortable life. Although war rages abroad, she hardly feels its effect. She and her mother travel from their home in Britain to the family estate in Belgium, never imagining that the war could reach them there. But it does. Soon Emma finds herself stranded in a war-torn country, utterly alone. Enemy troops fight to take over her estate, leaving her with no way to reach her family, and no way out. With all of her attention focused on survival and escape, Emma hardly expects to find love. But the war will teach her that life is unpredictable, people aren't always what they seem, and magic is lurking everywhere.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5.Not all the retellings in this series are a success – this is a good example. I liked the promise of this book. It started out as a lovely story. Emma Pennington is stuck in the family estate in Belgium. She never expected the war to come so close, until the German troops arrive. Emma just saved the life of a man. Jack is part of the Allied troops, but Emma lies to the group of German soldiers and tells him that he is her husband. Jack ended up in the well in front of her house after an gas attack. He is badly injured and now they are locked away in a room in the house. They spend a lot of time together and Jack starts to fall in love with Emma, but all she wants is return to her father in Britain.
I liked how there wasn’t an instant-love from both sides. It did annoy me that Emma only realized she loved him, because everybody had to tell her that. And one moment in the book, she’s suddenly like: “Oh yes, they were right. I do love him!” .. I thought you were so intelligent, Emma.
When three Allied soldiers arrive to check out the area, they are taken hostage. One of the soldiers is the young boy Kit, someone Jack knows; he will do everything to safe this boy. Jack has a special ability and it gave him the nickname ‘frog’ Can he safe Kit? And can Jack and Emma escape before it is too late?
The fact that this story is set in our world was great. I loved the war element and the way Weyn used the frog aspect. Emma and Jack started out as good characters. Their interactions where fun, but Jack’s constant begging for a kiss started to annoy me. The middle part dragged a little and that surprise me. I expected more story, because this book only has 194 pages. I couldn’t buy the paranormal aspect around Jack. It felt out of place.
The conclusion is: if you want to read a book from this series, don’t start with this one.