I, Coriander -- Sally Gardner

I don't know where I got the idea that this was a crying book.  Because... it's not.  Or at least, it didn't make me cry*.  I feel silly for avoiding it for so long.

I have lit the first of seven candles to write my story by.  On the table next to me is the silk purse that holds my mother's pearls and beside it is the ebony box whose treasure I am only now beginning to understand.  Next to that, shining nearly as bright as the moon, stands a pair of silver shoes.

I have a great many things to tell, of how I came by the silver shoes and more.  And this being my story and a fairy tale besides, I will start once upon a time...

This is one of those books that shouldn't be described too much, so I'll just go with this:  Coriander grows up in London during Cromwell's rise to power and his reign.  As she mentions on the first page, it is also a fairy tale. You can probably imagine where the conflict comes in -- Cromwell's regime?  Not so big on the magic and fairies and whatnot.

I loved the format of the book -- as Coriander says in the excerpt above, she has seven candles to write by -- seven candles, seven parts.  Each section begins with a black and white illustration of a full candle and ends with a black and white illustration of a candle stub, which was a nice touch. 

And I loved the story -- especially her time in our world.  I found the parts set in Faerie less satisfying, and her romance never made me swoon, but overall, it was pretty fantastic.  It's her voice that really makes the book a special one -- despite my problems with it, Coriander was so real to me from page one that I couldn't put it down.

*And if it doesn't make me cry...