by Ebony McKenna
Publication date: June 21 2013
Genres: Comedy, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Dive into this wonderfully witty young adult series from author Ebony McKenna, set in the far off European country of Brugel.
15-year-old Ondine is struggling to fit in at Psychic Summercamp and doubts she possesses any of her family’s magical abilities. She resolves to leave, determined to follow her own path and be a normal teenager. Whatever normal is in a place like Brugel.
On the way home Ondine is shocked when her pet ferret Shambles starts talking – in a cheeky Scottish accent no less! He is in fact a young man trapped in a witch’s curse. When he briefly transforms into his human self, Ondine is smitten. If only she can break the spell for good, Shambles can be handsomely human on a full-time basis.
During the summer, these two misfits uncover a plot to assassinate a member of the royal family and discover a secret treasure that has remained hidden for decades. This attracts the attention of the arrogant Lord Vincent, and Ondine can’t help being drawn in by his bad-boy charm.
With so many demands on Ondine’s attentions – and affections – normal has never seemed so far away.
The Summer of Shambles is the first in the four-part ONDINE series. Fans of The Princess Bride or the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series will love this delightfully quirky fairytale.
And really, you can’t go wrong with a book that has a talking ferret. Or takes place in a tiny and imaginary European country named Brugel. (Which is the only country in the world with a hexagonal flag, according to Brugelwiki.org.bu and Shaaron Melvedeir’s classic work The Complete History of Brugel–though Everything Shaaron Melvedeir Says is Rubbish by Isaak Drixen probably would dispute the claim.)
As the book opens, Ondine has slept through her astral projection exam. More certain than ever of her immanent failure, and since Psychic Summercamp (apparently all psychics and mediums can trace their DNA to the foothills of Brugel, but Ondine is convinced she definitely isn’t one of their number) wasn’t exactly how she wanted to spend her summer vacation anyway, she grabs her suitcase and her ferret and runs away home.
Ondine has just arrived at the train station when she makes a startling discovery–Shambles, the ferret who found her at summer camp and became her constant companion, can talk! In a deep Scottish (and manly) accent, nonetheless–although apparently Ondine’s the only one who can understand him. He’s a little too excited to find out that Ondine lives in a pub, for reasons that become clear when she learns his true identity. More than a half century earlier, Hamish McPhee, the Laird of Glen Logan, offended a witch–a witch who, coincidentally, happens to be Ondine’s great-aunt. When he imbibed a little too much plutz (Brugel’s number one alcoholic export, which is made from fermented peaches and is 32% proof and the main ingredient in divorce proceedings) at Ondine’s Great-Aunt Colleen’s debut into society, she turned him into a ferret.
Together Ondine and Shambles/Hamish uncover a plot to assassinate the Duke of Brugel, find a small fortune in jewels hidden in the pub, and discover not one but two secret romances. Ondine becomes smitten with the Duke’s handsome son Vincent, much to Shambles/Hamish’s dismay, although as the summer continues she develops more than a passing interest in finding out just what her ferret looked like when he was a human.
She soon finds out–and the answer is very nice.
Will Hamish manage to stay human? How did the jewels get under the pub’s floorboards? Who is trying to shut the pub down, and why? Is Vincent a bad boy gone good, or is he just bad? Is Ondine actually psychic? Will Ondine’s father survive if all three of his daughters manage to find love in a single summer? Read The Summer of Shambles to find out–you won’t be sorry you did!
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.