- Wisdom’s Kiss: A Thrilling and Romantic Adventure Incorporating Magic, Villainy, and a Cat
Since the kingdom of Montagne honors the tradition of female succession, Wilhelmina, the conniving duchess of Farina, sends her son Roger to woo Montagne’s new queen so that Wilhelmina can access the throne and finally unite the duchy and the kingdom under her rule. Her plans are somewhat thwarted when her son chooses the queen’s sister, Wisdom, instead, but as the wedding party assembles, [End Page 96] Wilhelmina sets her back-up plan in motion. Meanwhile, Wisdom, known affectionately as Dizzy, is having a less satisfying adventure than she had hoped while traveling to her new home with her grandmother, Ben (seen first in Princess Ben, BCCB 5/08), and her unsatisfactory ladies-in-waiting. Bad oysters disable the latter, however, and the group acquires a beautiful kitchen maid named Trudy, who has a hidden motive for traveling to the duchy; she has long pined for her childhood friend Tips, who will be arriving in the duchy at the same time as the wedding party. When Dizzy meets Tips, though, everything shifts, and magic and mayhem prove the only path through entanglement to resolution. A complicated tale sometimes requires a complicated telling, and Murdock obliges by doling out present events and past context through letters, memoirs, diary and encyclopedia entries, and various acts of a play, all combining to create a satisfying whole. The deft craftsmanship of each section develops character and elegantly marries form and substance, as letters convey a record of experiences and pleading admonitions to the recipient, diary entries reveal intimate impressions and secret motives, and encyclopedia entries provide an official, if considerably editorialized, record of events. Readers who enjoy fairy-tale romance and intrigue with multiple strong heroines, an enigmatic cat, and a bit of reading challenge will adore this, and those who are already acquainted with Princess Ben will be glad to see her again.