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Berry's enticing debut novel teems with romance, danger and suspense. Lucinda, a 15-year-old orphan, leads a miserable existence as a servant until she gains possession of an unusual stone belonging to Beryl, a reputed witch. As luck would have it, the gem is stolen and sold to a prince before Lucinda even realizes it is gone. Most of the plot centers on Lucinda's adventures trying to retrieve the stone from the prince, with whom she predictably falls in love. Fantasy buffs will delight in the author's playful use of fairy tale conventions-unlike Cinderella, Lucinda has the good sense to retrieve her lost slipper after attending a ball ("I considered leaving it there, but one footfall in my stocking feet on the cold granite changed my mind"). But the book's main appeal comes from the revelations of many secrets and unexpected twists, including the truth about Beryl. Lucinda has to work harder than most such heroines to acquire her happily-ever-after ending, but her efforts eventually pay off, while leaving readers with enough unanswered questions to set imaginations spinning. Ages 10-14. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.