Fairytale introduces fifteen-year-old Marianne on the eve of her wedding to Lord Brantford, a nobleman she has yet to meet. Dark-haired and pale-skinned, Marianne reflects on the fact that she’s never really fit in with the rest of her family: perfectly coiffed brother Edward; bouncy blonde tot Cassandra; controlling father Neville; critical mother Beatrice. Her rare joys consist of late-night prowls in the library and witty repartee with a talking frog named Prince.
On the morning of the wedding Marianne finds out why she always felt an outsider in the rigid world of Kingbriton Manor: Because she is. Neville and Beatrice grudgingly explain that they were forced to take in Marianne when she and her brother became orphaned during a war against the wizards fifteen years earlier. Marianne escapes her wedding on the back of a dragon she christens Leopold and finds herself reunited with her long-lost brother Robin. Together they embark on a series of adventures across the enchanted countryside: waking Princess Penelope, who is no Sleeping Beauty; exploring a carnival of more fright than fun; and ultimately battling the cruel wizard Grimholdt. At the end of the novel, Marianne discovers the secret of her identity.
Book I: Fairytale Character Guide
- Marianne: Quick-witted and comely, Marianne longs for adventure in the great wide world, but seems destined to travel only a few miles down the road to her groom’s estate. For Marianne, though, Destiny has some surprising turns ahead.
- Prince: This urbane frog first met Marianne when she dropped a ball in his pond and he retrieved it. In hopes of transforming him into a handsome human prince, she gave him a kiss, but all she ended up with were slimy lips. Still, the two became fast confidantes.
- Neville: A former commander in the Fairy-Wizard wars who faked his death to avoid actual combat. His only joy from Marianne’s upcoming nuptials derives from her exit from his household and the tidy profit he’ll reap from the Duke when the marriage transaction is complete.
- Beatrice: Bullied about by her husband Neville, Beatrice nevertheless manages to be a viperous stepmother in her own right.
- Edward: Vanity Incarnate with a such a sizeable bevy of female followers that he has trouble keeping his conquests straight: Alice! Uh, Elizabeth? Katherine? No, um…Elinor?
- Cassandra: Five years old and cute-as-a-button, Cassandra thinks Marianne is a fun older sis, and little else.
- Lord Brantford: A decorated veteran of the Fairy-Wizard wars, Brantford feels compelled by his strong sense of duty to obey his father the Duke and wed Marianne. But can he truly pledge himself to Marianne when all these years he has loved the village baker’s daughter?
- Robin: Marianne’s long-lost brother who joins her aboard a dragon on the day of her wedding and changes her whole life. Following an impoverished childhood, he defines happine$$ quite differently than Marianne.
- Leopold: Spending most of his time as a dragonfly suspended inside a glass orb, Leo transforms into all his tail-and-talon dragon glory whenever the globe is broken. This wise and occasionally wisecracking dragon turns out to have been a gift from Marianne and Robin’s biological parents. Leo’s orb also possesses the sought-after property of being able to reveal the future, a handy asset that Marianne must learn to use sparingly.
- Art: Marianne’s first crush. Curling dark hair, soft brown eyes, a poem always poised on his lips. What girl wouldn’t lose her heart to Art?
- Princess Penelope: She is asleep. She is a beauty. But Penelope proves that rescuing a damsel in distress doesn’t always mean happily ever after.
- Grimholdt: A wizard who relishes hearing his name linked with adjectives like “wicked,” “heartless,” and “crafty.” Despite his best worst efforts, perhaps he does harbor a sliver of respect for Marianne, and he’s the one who holds the ultimate secret of Marianne and Robin’s identities. But villains don’t usually like to share.
- Zar: A Green Forest Variety Werewolf played as a pawn by Grimholdt.
- Deuce: Zar’s brother, who in subsequent novels will prove that werewolves, too, carry grudges.
- Lance: A lively fairy youth who owes Marianne and Robin a debt of gratitude for releasing him from one of Grimholdt’s malicious curses.