Fortune's Folly by Deva Fagan
Fortunata lives with her father in Valenzia. Her mother died last year. There was a time when Fortunata's father was the best shoemaker. He's lost his touch and can only make very ugly shoes. Fortunata father believes the fairies were the reason for his wonderful shoes and when they return everything will okay again.
Fortunata is the logical one, she has no time to believe in magic, fairy tales or happy endings . She must find a way to support them. The two leave Valenzia because Fortunata thinks its for the best.
"I climbed into the front of the wagon and took the reins. Father stood for a long moment beside the box, looking up at me through his owlish spectacles. "You're so like your mother, Nata," he said at last. "She always knew what to do"
The author had me right there. How often do you see the daughter take the reins? Fortunata made this novel for me. She never waited or needed anyone to save her. Soon after leaving, Valenzia, Fortunata is telling fake fortunes. All is going well, until she is forced to tell the fortune of a Prince Leonato of Doma. Fortunata see's a long adventure in Prince Leonato's future ending with him saving a princess in another land.
This fortune must come true or Fortunata's father will be killed. Fortunata has no choice but to go with the Prince. She's determined to make the prophecy come true. Before they can set off, Prince Leonato must read the prophecy without falter. That seems easy enough but the Prince has a stuttering problem. Other Forture tellers never get passed this part but they weren't Fortunata. She figures out the problem and comes up with a great solution.
Once they leave Doma, Fortunata must stay one step ahead.
"I had a fortune to make come true , and it would take all my wits to do it. Somewhere to the east, three days from here, was a village (I hoped), and somewhere in that village I would have to find a weapon that could slay a witch that didn't exist. I had a lot to think about."
When they finally save the princess ( who is locked in a tower) she's very needy.
I heard another scream, though this one was somewhat muffled. Wonderful. It couldn't have been a sensible princess who would understand that rescue from dire peril demanded silence. Shh! I hissed to the girl do you want them to know you've escaped?" She turned around, and I saw with a sinking heart that she was all I had feared. Beautiful as a flower, fragile as the dawn. Fit to inspire a hundred minstrels. Her eyes were large, and one small white hand pressed to her lips in a childish gesture of embarrassment. "Oh!" she said. But my prince will save me from any danger.
Fagan's writing is easy to fall into, funny and smart. It was a lot of fun watching Fortunata make her fake fortune come true. It was nice to see a female protagonist in charge of her own destiny. Along the way Fortunata falls in love with the Prince, she doesn't let that distract her. More than once Fortunata saves Prince Leonato's life.
I really enjoyed Fortune's Folly but I must admit I passed it over several times. Two reasons. First the cover has a homemade look to it. It doesn't say pick me up. Second, I wasn't very fond of the main character's name, Fortunata. It was too close to fortune. With a different cover I would've overlooked the name thing but together it was too much. Though for some reason I kept coming back to the book. I finally decided to read the first page. Fagan has a strong beginning. She convinced me not to worry about what I didn't like and simply enjoy the story and I did. an excerpt ages 9 up
Deva Fagan has a middle grade fantasy novel coming out at the end of May called The Magical Misadventures of Prunella Bogthistle , and it features a kid of color. Now that is a cover I can get behind.