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Once Upon an Autumn Eve    by Dennis L. McKiernan order for
Once Upon an Autumn Eve
by Dennis L. McKiernan
Order:  USA  Can
Roc, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Unlike his two pervious seasonal fantasies, Dennis L. McKiernan uses an obscure tale (The Glass Mountain) for his latest, Once Upon an Autumn Eve. Using a not-so-familiar tale creates a different read than in his two previous books in this quartet - they were based on more familiar stories Once Upon a Winter's Night on East of the Sun, West of the Moon (aka Beauty and the Beast) and Once Upon a Summer Day on Sleeping Beauty.

Once upon an autumn eve, Princess Liaze of the Autumnwood rescues a knight named Luc who has fallen from his horse battling Redcaps. As he recovers, they fall in love. Unfortunately in fairy tales, love can never be that easy. After informally announcing their engagement, Luc is kidnapped in the dark of night by a witch. A riddle from the Fates tells Liaze that Luc is being held on a black mountain and must be rescued in two-moons' time or he will die. Liaze sets off to rescue her beloved alone, although she knows she will face many perils along the way.

The fact that McKiernan based Once Upon an Autumn Eve on a less familiar tale has its pros and cons. Not knowing the story beforehand keeps the reader on their seat throughout. However, when the reader knows the story, McKiernan's theory that fairy tales have been greatly shortened over the ages (and are fun to imagine in their former glory) is more easily conveyed. Yet, whether the reader is familiar with the basis for Once Upon an Autumn Eve or not, it cannot be denied that McKiernan spins an engaging and enduring romantic epic set in a world only limited by the reader's imagination.

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