From School Library Journal
Grade 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
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After her father loses his gift for shoe making, Fortunata spurns wicked Capain Niccolo’s offer to join his household as a maid. She and her father take to the road, and Fortunata becomes an itinerant fortune teller. Soon ensnared in her predictions for Prince Leonato’s future, Fortunata learns she must make them come true in order to save her father’s life. Falling in love with the prince is an unforeseen complication. Interwoven with the slipper motif from Cinderella, this journey story is satisfying in many ways. Forced to take the lead when her father falters, the unassuming heroine discovers parts of herself she has never known. 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. Grades 5-7. --Carolyn Phelan
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