The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a great blending of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" and "Beauty and the Beast"! Set in Sylvania, an Eastern European country places near the borders of Turkey, Moldova, Hungary and Transylvania, Reveka's life has changed from studying in a convent to being the herbalist's apprentice in a castle. Here, she tries to win the dowry promised by the Prince to the one who solves the curse his daughters are under: why do they have bloody, blistered feet every morning, why do those that see them at night end up in a coma-like state, and what happens to the men that swear to rescue them?
The way in which the author blends the two stories is quite clever, as is the addition of what appear to be traces of local myths (Vlad Tepes is referenced several times). There's no "happily ever after" here but there is an ending left open that could lead to a sequel.
ARC provided by publisher.