Diribani has come to the village well to get water for her family's scant meal of curry and rice. She never expected to meet a goddess there. Yet she is granted a remarkable gift: Flowers and precious jewels drop from her lips whenever she speaks.
It seems only right to Tana that the goddess judged her kind, lovely stepsister worthy of such riches. And when she encounters the goddess, she is not surprised to find herself speaking snakes and toads as a reward.
Blessings and curses are never so clear as they might seem, however. Diribani’s newfound wealth brings her a prince—and an attempt on her life. Tana is chased out of the village because the province's governor fears snakes, yet thousands are dying of a plague spread by rats. As the sisters' fates hang in the balance, each struggles to understand her gift. Will it bring her wisdom, good fortune, love . . . or death?
I really and truly loved this book. I know I say that a lot and often give books 4 and 5 out of five stars, but this is one of the few books I wish I could give a ten out of five.
It is a retelling of the fairy tale "Toads and Diamonds", as the title obviously suggests. However, instead of a fairy who gives the two girls their "gifts", it's a goddess. The girl who speaks toads and snakes isn't cruel and jealous, but instead is slighty misguided. The mother doesn't only love her daughter. And the story takes place in a Indian-ish/African-ish place, and even though it is made up it feels like a historical fiction book.
This story had a wonderful plot, some tinges of romance, and amazingly developed characters. I applaud Heather Tomlinson for writing such an amazing novel. I can't wait to read her other books, and I would totally tell everyone to read this amazing book.
I give this book a 5/5 and would recommend it to lovers of fairy tales and practically everyone else.
Language: None/Mild (um, does the word crap count?)