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Library Journal★ 11/15/2013
As one of the sereia, or sea folk, Oriana is banned from the Golden City. For two years, however, she has worked as a spy for her people, disguising her webbed hands with gloves and hiding her gills beneath high-necked clothing, while in the employ of the upper-class Paredes family. When she and Isabel Paredes are kidnapped, Oriana watches helplessly as Isabel drowns, getting away only after the tragedy. Keeping her escape secret, Oriana tries to track down Isabel's killer and encounters Duilio Ferreira, a gentleman acting as police consultant. Although she does not completely trust him, the pair work together to solve a mystery that grows increasingly complex and dangerous. VERDICT Cheney's debut is a masterpiece of historical fantasy, set in early 1900s Portugal, a time and place rarely explored in English-language fiction. The fascinating mannerisms of the age and the extreme formality of two people growing fonder of each other add a charmingly fresh appeal that will cross over to romance fans as well as to period fantasy readers.