Fortune's Folly

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Ever since her mother died and her father lost his shoemaking skills, Fortunata has survived by telling fake fortunes. But when she’s tricked into telling a grand fortune for a prince, she is faced with the impossible task of fulfilling her wild prophecy—or her father will be put to death.

Now Fortunata has to help Prince Leonato secure a magic sword, vanquish a wicked witch, discover a long-lost golden shoe, and rescue the princess who fits ...

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Fortune's Folly

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Overview

Ever since her mother died and her father lost his shoemaking skills, Fortunata has survived by telling fake fortunes. But when she’s tricked into telling a grand fortune for a prince, she is faced with the impossible task of fulfilling her wild prophecy—or her father will be put to death.

Now Fortunata has to help Prince Leonato secure a magic sword, vanquish a wicked witch, discover a long-lost golden shoe, and rescue the princess who fits it. If only she hadn’t fallen in love with the prince herself !

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for FORTUNE'S FOLLY:

“Mixing romance, adventure, and unpredictable plot twists, this heartwarming story is a must for every collection.”—School Library Journal

“All the characters are flawed in different ways, lending a sense of realism to a narrative that might otherwise have seemed remote in time and place. And, as in a true fairy tale, the ending brings happiness to the protagonists and justice to their antagonists. A pleasing first novel.”—Booklist

“Readers will relish the clever allusions to stories from ‘Rapunzel’ to ‘Cinderella,’ rendering the first line of this winning debut novel that much more terrific: ‘Life would have been much easier if I believed in fairy tales.’”—Kirkus Reviews

“In her debut novel, Deva Fagan cleverly slips elements of several beloved fairy tales, from ‘Cinderella’ to ‘Rapunzel,’ into her story, playfully turning these old motifs on their heads... This tough, creative, fearless heroine will give readers someone to root for—whether they believe in fairy tales or not.”—Bookpage

"Fortunata’s narration is sassy yet sensible, believable in both her desperate and poweful moments, and laced with humor about her father’s hideous shoes. Fans of fairy-tale fiction will find this a perfect fit."—BCCB

“Tidbits of classic fairy tales, such as Cinderella, Rapunzel, and The Elves and the Shoemaker, are woven into this deftly written debut novel, which ends happily ever after, as all good fairy tales must. Offer this one to the girls who are reading Gail Carson Levine.”—VOYA

VOYA - Ruth Cox Clark
Fortunata does not believe in magic, even though her widowed father, the Master Shoemaker of Velenzia, is certain that the beauty of his shoes can be attributed to the elves who once visited his shop. Dire circumstances find the grieving father and resilient daughter penniless and on the road. When their donkey is stolen, they are at the mercy of the vicious thief Umbaldo, who says they can buy it back if they join his traveling show. Her father too ill to travel on foot, Fortunata has no choice but to become an apprentice fortune teller. She then replaces the All-Knowing Alessandra who escapes from her tormentor, Umbaldo. Quick to read people, Fortunata learns how to tell them what they want to hear. The money-hungry Umbaldo then forces Fortunata to tell the Prince of Doma's fortune. As she spins a farfetched prophecy, Fortunata does not realize she must join his quest that includes vanquishing a wicked witch, discovering a golden shoe, and rescuing a princess. There is indeed a witch, a golden shoe, and a princess, whom Prince Leonata rescues but soon discovers is selfish and shallow, nothing like his traveling companion who can make him both laugh and feel brave. Nor did Fortunata expect to fall in love with this lonely prince who stutters. Tidbits of classic fairy tales, such as Cinderella, Rapunzel, and The Elves and the Shoemaker, are woven into this deftly written debut novel, which ends happily ever after, as all good fairy tales must. Offer this one to the girls who are reading Gail Carson Levine. Reviewer: Ruth Cox Clark
Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
Since Fortunata's mother died, her father, the Master Shoemaker of Valenzia, seems to have lost his ability to make shoes that will sell. He says that he has lost the magic, but she does not believe in magic; however, when their impoverished circumstances force them to join the devious Umbaldo and his traveling players, she finds herself apprenticed to All-Knowing Alessandra, the fortune teller. Fortunata learns the tricks of the trade, although she sees it as deceitful. Her only hope is to save enough money to escape with her father, but that is not to be. Allesandra disappears and Fortunata becomes Umbaldo's main attraction. He takes the travelers to Doma so that Fortunata might tell the fortune that will make him a rich man. She must reveal the prophecy that the prince must complete to become king. Only her father's faith in her allows her to "make-up" an appropriate prophecy. While her father is held prisoner, she must accompany Prince Leonato on his quest to find the princess he must rescue. Fortunato is both amazed and devastated as the prophecy appears to be true; for now, she realizes she is in love with Leonato. Young readers will recognize allusions to Cinderella, Rapunzel, and other folktales as they follow Fortunata and Leonata on their quest and will be pleased with the "happily ever after" ending. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9–Fortunata is the quick-thinking and resourceful heroine of this once-upon-a-time tale set in a fictional realm. The 17-year-old has been fending for herself and her father since her mother succumbed to a fever. Papa, once a renowned shoemaker, now concocts the world’s ugliest footwear (he lost his creative genius when his wife died) and that, among other things, causes them to leave town in a hurry. Circumstances force them to join a traveling band of performers led by a cruel taskmaster. Fortunata becomes a fortune-teller and though her new “gift” consists mainly of trickery and artifice, it makes people happy–until she tells a fortune to a prince that must come true or her father dies. The plot glides along nicely, as does the development of the characters. Fagan’s language evokes images of fairy tales and legends, and the protagonist’s first-person narrative sparkles with humor. In this book, words are powerful, impressive, mystical, and, sometimes, downright silly. Mixing romance, adventure, and unpredictable plot twists, this heartwarming story is a must for every collection.–Jennifer-Lynn Draper, Children’s Literature Consultant, Oshawa, Ontario
Kirkus Reviews
Young Fortunata's father, a shoemaker, has lost his elves. When the forlorn father-daughter pair is forced to find work outside their town of Valenzia, they fall in with a rough lot, and Fortunata is coerced by their malevolent captors into learning the wily tricks of a fortune teller. Their tortuous journey, described in Fortunata's grimly pragmatic, dryly comical first-person voice, leads them to the queen of Sirenze, who requires a soothsayer's advice to help her son-the shy, stuttering Prince Leonato-find a princess. Fortunata fakes an amusingly elaborate prophecy, soon realizing that she must make her prediction come true to save her father's life. As fate would have it, the prince is charming, and finding someone who loves him proves all too easy. (She does.) Fortunata is a likable heroine with real guts and only becomes a romantic sap toward the end. Readers will relish the clever allusions to stories from "Rapunzel" to "Cinderella," rendering the first line of this winning debut novel that much more terrific: "Life would have been much easier if I believed in fairy tales." (Fantasy. 10 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805087420
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 4/14/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 770L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Deva Fagan

DEVA FAGAN likes searching for patterns, which is how she explains both her degree in mathematics and the echoes of old fairy tales in her stories. She lives in Maine with her husband and her dog. This is her first book.

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Read an Excerpt

“Never mind,” Allessandra murmured, helping me guide Father to the rear of the blue wagon. “I will see to your father. A bit of my tonic, and he’ll be better by next Saint’s day. And,” she added, “we can begin your training.”

“Training? To do what?”

“Why, to be a fortune-teller. To prognosticate. To consult the spirit voices and part the veil that guards the future.”

“But I told you, I don’t believe in that. It’s all just a bunch of tricks,” I said, as we settled Father onto a narrow padded cot along one side of the covered wagon. The interior was a jumble of shimmering cloth and jangling bells, with a great wardrobe filling one corner and a huge chest in the other. Beside the cot sat a set of movable steps, painted the same bright blue as the wagon itself. Allessandra perched herself on these as we started to roll forward.

She was grinning. “Yes, it is a bunch of tricks. And you are going to learn every one.”

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 20, 2011

    This one's for adventurers of all ages!

    Do you like Fractured Fairy Tales? Did Shrek make you laugh yourself silly? Do you adore plucky heroines who are intelligent, capable, but humanly fallible?

    Do yourself a favor and read this book. Give it to any of your daughters, nieces, cousins, or in fact any person who loves an adventure full of warm humor and delightful misdirection.

    It's categorized as young adult, but how many grown ups do you know who couldn't put Harry Potter or the Hobbit down? This one's for adventurers of all ages!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Joan Stradling for TeensReadToo.com

    Life is difficult for a shoemaker who has lost his skills, and even more difficult for his daughter, Fortunata. When they are forced to leave their home, things get even worse. Nata is forced into telling fake fortunes for a living, and before she knows it, she's tricked into telling the fortune of a prince.

    If the fortune doesn't come true, Nata's father will pay the price. Fortunata's only hope is to make sure the prince secures a magic sword, vanquishes a wicked witch to recover a lost golden shoe, and rescues the princess.

    If only fulfilling the fortune were as easy as telling it.

    Though often predictable, I enjoyed reading about Nata's journey in FORTUNE'S FOLLY. The characters were fun and the fairy tale-type story was engaging enough to keep me reading. It wasn't a thrilling adventure, but I'll read more of Fagan's work because I like her writing style and ability to make me empathize with her characters.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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