9780857986030Bianca Dalmatin wants for nothing. As the heir to a department store empire and stepdaughter of the beautiful Lady Belladonna, the only thing Bianca longs for is a friend. It seems that her wish is granted at the Duke’s Presentation Ball when she meets the handsome, mysterious Lucian Montresor.

But after the Mirror newspaper names Bianca as Lepmest’s new Fairest Lady, the true nature of her stepmother is revealed. Belladonna tells Bianca the shocking news that Bianca’s father is dying – and, when Bianca races to be by his side, Belladonna sends her faithful servant to kill her.

Who is friend and who is enemy? Plunged into a terrifying world that will turn her from a daughter of privilege to a hunted creature in fear of her life, Bianca must find allies if she is to survive – and if she is to expose Belladonna for who she really is…

Hunter’s Moon (Random House) Sophie Masson’s Snow White novel, set in the same universe as her Cinderella novel, Moonlight And Ashes, in the Faustine Empire, in the same Victorian/Edwardian era, with telegrams and steamers. There are also trams, presumably horse drawn. Her Snow White, Bianca, is the daughter of “The King Of Elegance” instead of a regular king. The Mirror is a newspaper instead of an actual mirror, though there is a reference to it in the fashion show at the beginning. There is definitely magic involved as well as technology, there’s a Prince of a kind and there’s even that glass coffin, though I won’t tell you more, because spoilers…

Like Moonlight And Ashes Hunter’s Moon starts with the fairytale and continues past that. Unlike Ms Masson’s Cinderella, Selena, whom you know will be strong right from the beginning, Bianca starts as an ordinary teenage girl who admires her beautiful and elegant stepmother, Belladonna, right up till the lady tries to have her killed. In the course of the novel, she realizes that she needs to be stronger if she is to defeat Belladonna, and does some good investigation of the mystery behind the woman who snared her father. She makes some huge mistakes — mistakes that can get people killed, not only herself but the truly wonderful friends she has made along the way. But somehow her very klutziness results in a better outcome than if she had done the sensible thing.

Young readers of this may be a little disappointed in some of the romance elements but all I can say is that there were hints early on and it all works out in the end. ◊

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