"Fantasy Remarkably Rich In Characterization"
Sharon Shinn is a remarkable storyteller with a real gift
for exposing human nature by placing ordinary people in
extraordinary circumstances. In doing so they become more
than they ever would have been otherwise. SUMMERS AT
CASTLE AUBURN is a Cinderella story of sorts, although
Cinderella you will never find than Coriel Halsing.
Coriel, the illegitimate daughter of a royal lord and the
daughter of the village wise woman had lived a quiet life
without the influence of either parent, until the age of
six. She had been raised by her grandmother, carefully
learning herb lore, when her life was changed forever. Her
Uncle Jaxon had appeared at their cottage to inform them of
her father's death and to honor the promise he had made to
bring the child to Castle Auburn to meet her relations and
acquire a taste of her birthright. And so it began for
Coriel, summers spent in another, more complicated world,
where what you see isn't always what you get.
Coriel herself is completely genuine, speaking her mind at
all times, and wearing her heart on her sleeve. Nearly
everyone delights in her presence. She finds particular joy
in the company of her half-sister Elisandra, the gloriously
handsome Prince Bryan, who Elisandra is to marry, and his
kind and sober cousin Kent Ouvrelet.
The tale begins on the summer of Corie's fourteenth year.
She is about to embark on a journey that begins her
awakening. Uncle Jaxon has promised to take her to hunt
for Aliora along the Faelyn river, along with the Prince,
his food taster, bodyguard, and cousin Kent. Corie admires
the prince immensely and like every young girl at Auburn
fancies herself in love with him. It was there that for
the first time Corie had seen an Alora free and unfettered.
Until then she had not given much thought to the plight of
the fey creatures whose mere presence exuded love, for
which they were captured and held to serve the more
The injustice done to these loving creatures makes her look
at her jolly and beloved Uncle in a new way. Her reaction
to her plight has changed her life forever. No longer will
her summers be hold only the simple pleasure of being with
people she loves in a glamorous setting. With each passing
summer Corie grows in wisdom and vision. By her seventeenth
summer she has learned that all that glitters is not gold.
That a gloriously charming and handsome exterior can house
a rotten core, that a outwardly unflappable young woman can
harbor a steely will, that a kind, that one man can be
deeply loving to his own while cruel to others in ignorance
and greed, and that a kind, honest, and sober young man
with a mild temper and a heart of gold, can inspire the
passion of one young woman, and the trust of a kingdom. Now
she must choose between the honest uncomplicated life of
her village, or to stand at the side of the man she loves,
to help him to face the complex challenges to be found in
Summers at Castle Auburn is remarkable rich in
characterization. Ms. Shinn puts the reader into the minds
and hearts of each player to see them as Coriel sees them.
Coriel herself is paradoxically uncomplicated and complex
making her a most interesting of heroines. I highly
recommend SUMMERS AT CASTLE AUBURN for romance readers who
enjoy a thought provoking plot.
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted August 7, 2001