Two sisters struggle to understand their gifts. Will they find wisdom, good fortune... or death?
“… this extraordinary entry in the retellings genre is definitely worth its weight in diamonds. Fans of Shannon Hale and Robin McKinley will eat it up." -- School Library Journal (starred review)
Henry Holt Books for Young Readers * ages 12 and up
A blessing or a curse?
Diribani has come to the village well to get water for her family's scant meal of curry and rice. She never expected to meet a goddess there. Yet she is granted a remarkable gift: flowers and precious jewels drop from her lips whenever she talks.
It seems only right to Tana that the goddess judged her kind, lovely stepsister worthy of such riches. And when she encounters the goddess, she is not surprised to find herself speaking snakes and toads as a reward.
Yet blessings and curses are never so clear as they might seem. As their fates hang in the balance, each sister struggles to understand her gift. Will it bring her wisdom, good fortune... or death?
"Tomlinson's memorable novel employs magic realism to explore a universal truth: an individual's gifts and talents are not always as they might seem. … Tomlinson is a master craftsman, and as in her highly regarded The Swan Maiden (2007), she creates a vivid setting. Lavish details starkly contrast the two girls' lives and personalities while emphasizing their strength, purpose, and enduring love for each other, despite their predicaments." -- Booklist(starred review)
“... a satisfying resolution brings each girl her happily ever after and makes this a both riveting and enjoyable retelling.” -- Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"A great read for fans of fairy-tale retellings, this book should be very popular with older tweens and teens." -- Kirkus
"Mixed blessings are the theme of this charming young-adult fantasy, which transplants the French fairy tale “Diamonds and Toads” (Charles Perrault’s “Les Fées”) to India." -- Locus
"Tomlinson (The Swan Maiden ) does not oversimplify in this well-told tale; human discord and the harmony of nature are entwined with simplicity and elegance as the girls travel, physically and emotionally, to places they had never imagined." -- Publisher’s Weekly
"... Best of all, Tomlinson creates a truly remarkable bond between the girls, obliterating the trite stepsister stereotype. The text may be challenging at times, but this extraordinary entry in the retellings genre is definitely worth its weight in diamonds. Fans of Shannon Hale and Robin McKinley will eat it up." -- School Library Journal(starred review)
Bankstreet College Best Children’s Books of 2011 list
California Collection Middle School List
Junior Library Guild selection
Mythopoeic Award finalist
School Library Journal Best Fiction 2010 list
For more information about this book, including the research phase [under construction]