“You have never heard a story quite like this one.”
Start a book with a sentence like this, and you’ve given yourself a tall order to fill. However, Alex Bell doesn’t disappoint. Jasmyn is something special indeed, putting me under its spell in a way that only a few books a year ever do.
Our heroine, Jasmyn, is devastated when her beloved husband Liam dies suddenly, just a year after their marriage. Then, at his funeral, things really start getting weird: five black swans fall dead from the sky during the interment. In the coming months, Jasmyn learns that Liam may have had a secret life — and it’s not your ordinary garden-variety secret life. She teams up with Liam’s grumpy brother, Ben, to uncover the truth. Their quest takes them all over Europe, to real-life places as enchanting as any fairy-tale castle.
I figured out one of the Big Secrets pretty early in the book, and so I got to read it on both levels at once: what Jasmyn thinks is going on, and what’s really going on. The difference between the two is heartbreaking.
Alex Bell weaves several old tales into her plot, and fleshes them out with vivid characters and settings, so that the story feels both familiar and fresh. I highly recommend Jasmyn to anyone who likes an excellent grown-up fairy tale.