cover image Wintersong


S. Jae-Jones. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $18.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-250-07921-3

Set in 19th-century Bavaria, Jae-Jones’s debut tells the tale of 18-year-old Liesl Vogler, an innkeeper’s daughter who dreams of being a famous composer but is resigned to a life of minding her siblings and helping her mother run the family business. When the Goblin King abducts Liesl’s younger sister, Kathë, Liesl travels to the Underground and secures Kathë’s release by agreeing to marry the King in her stead. Freed from her earthly responsibilities, Liesl can finally dedicate herself to her music, with the Goblin King serving as both collaborator and muse. But as she falls in love and finds her voice, the Underground begins to drain her life force, and soon Liesl is faced with difficult decisions. While Jae-Jones writes beautifully about the magic of love, the power of music, and the importance of free will, she gives short shrift to the more elementary aspects of her story. The plot meanders, the stakes are ill-defined, and the characters lack depth and verisimilitude, keeping the book from reaching its full potential. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Katelyn Detweiler, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Feb.) [/em]