In a village of masked men, each man is compelled to love only one woman and to follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. A man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever.
Seventeen-year-old Noll’s childhood friends have paired off and her closest companion, Jurij, found his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever chosen her. She is in fact the goddess of the mysterious lord of the village, a man who refuses to let Noll have her right as a woman to spurn him.
Thus begins a dangerous game between the choice of woman and the magic of man. The stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither Noll nor the veiled lord is willing to lose.
Winner of The Romance Reviews' Summer 2016 Readers' Choice Award in Young Adult Romance.
"You may think you have this book figured out, but I'm here to tell you that you're wrong. I can't tell you how many times my jaw dropped while reading this, as Amy surprised me again and again with unexpected plot twists. If you're a fan of fantasy novels looking for something different, make sure you pick this one up!"
Gr 8 Up—When the first goddess cast her spell a 1,000 years ago, she decreed that all men must wear masks until each finds his one true love—his goddess. Noll lives in a small village where men are at the mercy of their women. Meanwhile, she and Jurij play as childhood friends until Jurij recognizes his goddess in Noll's sister, Elfriede. Noll is devastated. With no other eligible candidates in her village, the teen sets out on a pilgramage to find answers. On this quest, Noll encounters a magic sword, which allows her to travel between the past and present to find the answers she desperately needs about the first goddess; the spell, which man was meant for her; and how to save Jurij. McNulty has created a setting which seems both familiar and foreign. There are many terrestrial qualities to this 16th-century village, such as mountains, meadows, forests, and lakes. But there are also hints of magic throughout. Slightly underdeveloped world-building makes it difficult to keep track of all the rules. As the plot develops, the heroine encounters the lord of the castle. The story line then follows the pattern of many "Beauty and the Beast" adaptations. The lord takes Noll to his castle where she is imprisoned, and they only have each other for company. The character development flounders a bit as McNulty sets the scene. Despite its slow beginning and choppy pace, the story is fun and engaging, featuring a female protagonist who will resonate with young teens. VERDICT Recommended as an additional purchase.