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Children's LiteratureA mysterious rider brings a newborn baby to the home of the Safe-Keeper of Tambleham village. (Safe-keepers keep the secrets of those who confide in them for a coin or some other small token). That same safe-keeper, Damiana, gives birth to a baby a short time later. Raising both children as her own, she keeps the secret of both of their birthrights; however, most of the residents of Tambleham assume that Reed is the illegitimate son of King Marcus and that Fiona—who wants to be a safe-keeper herself—is Damiana's true daughter. The two children, fiercely loyal to each other, grow into young adults who view the world in very different ways. Fiona simply wants to stay at home and learn the trades of herbalist and safe-keeper; Reed is anxious to explore the world and the choices it offers. But when they find that Damiana is dying, both young people find that life sometimes molds people to its will, forcing them to contemplate ideas or realities not previously considered. With the aid of their friend Isadora, the Dream-Maker, Fiona and Reed learn how to face their futures and in doing so, positively impact those they love and value. This charming fantasy allows readers to consider the place of love and luck in their lives, and the dimensionality of Fiona, Reed, Damiana, and other friends and family make this book work on many levels. A wonderful addition to any school or family library. 2004, Viking, Ages 12 to 16.
—Jean Boreen, Ph.D.