Friday, October 23, 2015

Celia and the Wolf (Shapeshifter Journals Book 1) by Donna Maloy


Winner, 2014 Lyra Award for Juvenile Fiction from Bookstore Without Borders.

The year is 1806. Fourteen-year-old Celia Ashleigh is impatient to become a Deputy of the Crown, like all the other shapeshifting firstborn Ashleighs. When a very handsome French boy asks for her father’s help in rescuing his abducted sister, she doesn’t tell him her father’s away–she takes the mission herself. But Remy Broussard hadn’t told her he and his sister are werewolves, nor that they’re being hunted by the dangerous Guardian of La Cluse. The Guardian’s plan is to have frightened villagers kill Remy’s little sister on the night Lilette “changes” for the first time--the night before All Saints Day.

When a gypsy girl (who can turn invisible) joins Celia and Remy, Celia realizes that, for the first time, she has friends who are “gifted” just like her. But despite her enthusiasm and good intentions, and their help, she makes several crucial mistakes that jeopardize both her mission and Remy’s family.

As she comes closer to finding Lilette, Celia realizes The Guardian is actually insane with hatred… and his hatred extends to anyone who is not completely human. Like Celia.


Non. You already know too much, Celia. It cannot help to tell more. I am lost and so is Lilette.”  Remy turned his face away.

He didn’t seem quite so rude now or superior. In fact, I almost felt sorry for him. Except he was too distrustful—and stubborn—to believe in the one person who could help him. Why couldn’t he understand we were practically the same, he and I? We both had to hide our true selves from people who wouldn't understand. I would never betray him. Besides, Deputies of the Crown were experts at keeping other people's secrets—and doing what we promised.
“You’re not lost, Remy. I told you I’d rescue your sister and I always keep my word. But you must tell me what I need to know. The ship might reach shore any time now and we have to make plans.”
He turned and looked at me intently. “You can promise? No matter what happens, you will never tell anyone that I am loup-garou?”
“Of course I can promise that. On my word as a Crown Deputy… in training. No one would believe it, anyway.”
“They believe it where I live. At least some do. That is why Lilette is in danger.”
“She’s a werewolf, too?”
“Not yet. But she will be five days from now. The last night of this full moon is also the night of her twelfth birthday. The night she will change for the first time. And then they will have to kill her. They will have no choice.”
Have to? What do you mean?”
He shook his head. “Celia, remember that a loup-garou is completely the wolf. Eh bien. When the moon rises that, Lilette will become the wolf. Then they will let her go.”
“That’s good, isn’t it?”
Non, that is terrible. There will be no one there to guide her first change, or protect her. The man who holds her calls himself The Guardian. But he is a fiend! He will make certain Lilette is hungry when he lets her go. As hungry as only a wolf can get. With many small animals and people around to tempt her. The villagers will have weapons to ‘protect’ themselves.”
Remy’s eyes held mine fast. I sucked in a hard breath, suddenly realizing what he was saying. I could almost picture it in my mind.
“Tell me, Celia, what do you expect those people with weapons will do when they see a girl become a wild, scared, hungry wolf?”
Later, two farm hands came walking down the stone road. Calling out merrily, they made their way up to us.   
Both boys were dressed in blue woolen coats and short dark trousers, and each wore a pewter pin on his shirt—a dragon with a sword. An odd sort of jewelry for farmers.
Bonjour. It is you, Monsieur Broussard, non?” The older boy scowled at Remy’s embroidered vest and rudely left his hat on.
Remy nodded tightly. “Alain. Bastien. You are far from your horses and pigs.”
“And you are far from your castle.”
Alain smirked at Remy’s embarrassed look. “We’re going ‘round the villages, inviting everyone to a festival tomorrow night in La Cluse. Will you come?”
“Of course,” Remy said stiffly.
“Good,” said the other one, Bastien. “Don’t forget. It’s to be the night before Toussaint, All Hallow Day. Everyone is to wear a mask of something fearsome, like a warrior or a monster. His excellency the magistrate, your father, is especially asked to come.”
Remy looked ill. I had a sick feeling I knew why.
Bastien nodded farewell, giving me a broad grin as if he had nothing but fun on his mind. Perhaps he didn’t. Perhaps he didn’t know what it all meant.
Alain looked as if he wanted to say something else, but then shrugged and joined Bastien on the road to a cluster of slate-roofed houses.
When they were out of sight, Radilu peeked around Crumpet’s shoulder. “Who was that?”
“I can guess,” I said slowly. “They brought a message from The Guardian, didn’t they? About something more than tomorrow night’s ‘festival.’”
Oui.” Remy slumped. “I think that is when they plan to kill Lilette.”

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