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Water Song

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Young, beautiful, and wealthy, Emma Pennington is accustomed to a very comfortable life. Although war rages abroad, she hardly feels its effect. She and her mother travel from their home in Britain to the family estate in Belgium, never imagining that the war could reach them there. But it does. Soon Emma finds herself stranded in a war-torn country, utterly alone. Enemy troops fight to take over her estate, leaving her with no way to reach her family, and no way out. With all of her attention focused on survival and escape, Emma hardly expects to find love. But the war will teach her that life is unpredictable, people aren't always what they seem, and magic is lurking everywhere.

194 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 2006

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About the author

Suzanne Weyn

199 books620 followers
Suzanne Weyn grew up in Williston Park, Long Island, New York. She has three sisters and a brother. As a girl she was very interested in theater and in reading. Louisa May Alcott was her favorite author, but she also read every Sherlock Holmes story. Suzanne lived pretty close to the ocean and going to Jones Beach was one of her favorite activities Even today, if she goes too long without seeing the ocean, she starts feeling restless.
Suzanne now lives in upper New York State with her husband, two teen daughters and Abby the cat. Her house is at the edge of the woods and is nearly 200 years old. She graduated from State University of New York at Binghamton and received her Masters degree from Pace University. She teaches part time at City College in New York.
Suzanne’s other books for Simon Pulse include South Beach Sizzle, a romantic comedy written with Diana Gonzalez. Her novels for the Simon Pulse line, “Once Upon a Time” are The Night Dance; a Retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, Water Song: a Retelling of the Frog Prince, and The Crimson Thread: a Retelling of Rumplestiltskin. She very much enjoys rethinking these classic tales from an original point of view, always looking for the real psychological underpinning of the story. Suzanne is currently doing revisions on her fourth book in the line, which will be coming in '09.
Suzanne’s other recent novels are include The Bar Code Tattoo (2004) and its sequel. The Bar Code Rebellion (2006). The Bar Code Tattoo was selected by the American Library Assoc. (ALA) as a '05 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and was a ’07 Nevada Library nominee for “Best Young Adult Fiction”. It is currently translated into German and was nominated for the '07 Jugenliteraturpreis for Young People’s Literature.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 338 reviews
Profile Image for Cara.
280 reviews699 followers
August 13, 2016
First off before going in you must know that this retelling is loosely based on the original tale. I thought this was a plus because personally I never was really fond of the original. Really how romantic can a real frog be?

The book is set during WWI and I love how Suzanne Weyn does her retellings with a historic backdrop. It adds realism to the tale. I've also noticed that Weyn seems to like adding lots of languages and accents to her stories, which add more of a cultural effect to them. So we have our frog prince who is the most lovable Jack, and the strong minded Emma. For such a little book she packed a lot of action. Don't get me wrong it's not action packed like a thriller, but for a fairy tale it kept the plot rolling. I appreciated that in this one we got to see the relationship between Emma and Jack grow. It's not "oh I just realized that we are beautiful and we should totally be together!" It had a lot more of a real footing in the love they will eventually have for each other. At first they both are kind of wary of each other; not sure what the other is thinking. They have the age old assumptions of each other. She thinking he was uneducated and rough, and he thought she believed she was too good for him because of her wealth. It was kind of funny because sometimes they were right.

I want to spend the rest of the review singing praises over Jack, but I won't do that. Maybe I should create my own Ode to Jack later. I'll make copies for anyone who wants one:) He is just the perfect all American southern boy. Nuff' said. I was kind of disappointed when I found out what the locket had, though it did have a symbolic meaning. I thought it could have been more original. At times I was confused, well not confused but questioning why they decided to do certain things. The ending is so sweet though and makes up for it completely.

Best quality of the book (instead of Jack of course) was that both the main characters had strong values, which I thought should be applauded.
Simply a lovely story.
Profile Image for Izlinda.
586 reviews15 followers
March 26, 2010
Retelling of "The Frog Prince."

John and Emma are kept imprisoned in Emma's family's estate in Germany. Emma's mother had died in a bombing. John fell into Emma's well trying to escape mustard gas. (Emma also throw her gold bauble locket in the well earlier in a fit of anger.) Emma finds out he's in the well when she tries to find her locket again and so rescues him. But when they get out of the well, German soldiers have taken over the estate.

I have to say, I got so incredibly disgusted and repulsed by John's repeated requests for a kiss as a token of friendship. What the fuck. NO. You do not get to ask for kisses. And further more, Emma, after a while, starts to think that oh, maybe she was too harsh refusing to give John that kiss, blah blah blah. Seriously, those constant requests and her thinking left such a bad taste in my mouth.

I have to say I'm glad when they finally kissed for the first time, it was sincere and they were about to die. Though I think Weyn seriously overdid it with all the revelations and strength Emma's kiss put into John and showed him how strong he was, what a good character he was, yada yada. I mean...seriously...

Also, the way "sug" was dropped in to remind the reader that John was from New Orleans seemed a bit fake to me. And the constant times Weyn tells us about why/how John is frog-like! We get the point!

Heh, what's somewhat believable about this book is how Weyn shows the misconceptions and flaws in the characters. John gets kind of snarky and selfish about Emma's locket and finds out he judged her motives for getting it back wrong, and Emma finds out John is a rather helpful and caring guy instead of slow-reading peasant. I'm glad that, beyond his requests for kisses, he didn't push her further for anything else, despite being stuck in the same room with her. I also did like that this story featured an inter-racial romance. (Though I feel "romance" is glossing it too much.)

I think the ending could have used more work. I wanted to find out how Emma's reunion with her father went, assuming they did reunite and she was able to tell him that his wife, her mother had died in a bombing. But alas, nothing there.

I'm glad I borrowed this from the library, so I didn't have to pay for it. I also wouldn't recommend this specific book from the series, which I overall like.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,946 reviews548 followers
June 1, 2017
I'm not very familiar with The Frog Prince story, so I had fun reading this retelling...as it was almost like a new story for me. I liked the characters and the setting -- it took place during WWI and I haven't read many books set around that time.
Profile Image for Valerie.
249 reviews74 followers
September 15, 2009
Another superb book from the Once Upon A Time series. This book is set in WWI. I read another book called All Quiet On The Western Front. It's a very different book from this one and it was depressing so when Weyn mentioned the Western Front I got all depressed. Don't get the wrong idea, the book was not depressing. It was remembering the other book that got me depressed.

Well anyways, Watersong. I liked the whole set up of the story; Emma and Jack being trapped together because they are under false identities of being husband and wife. Emma is smart, quick witted, and courageous. She is also quick to judge Jack. I can understand her to an extent. Emma gets offended easily and doesn't look at Jack too kindly for his remarks but after a while I just wanted to tell her, "Oh come on, just give the guy a break."

Jack on the other hand is more forgiving of Emma. You get his point of view as well. He is from the South (USA) and has an accent. He right off the bat is taken by Emma. He is empathetic, strong, smart (but not exactly like Emma), and courageous too. He is prideful where Emma is prejudice. Neither of them seemed to get along very well, but they are drawn to each other.

I like that in this book you get to see more the male character, then just the female protagonist. In most of the books I don't think you see enough of them but I've only read about a handful so far so it may not be that way with all of them.
Profile Image for Dyanna.
806 reviews70 followers
February 3, 2019
Water Song by Suzanne Weyn is a retelling of the fairy tale The Frog Prince by Grimm Brothers and is the last one written in this series by this author and I think is the best one of her retellings if you ask me.

The story is set in the First World War were Emma a young lady leaves Britain with her mother in Belgium at the demands of her father in order to protect them. But they soon found out that even in Belgium the clutches of the war had arrived. Left alone with 2 servants that do not know her language after her mother dies she finds in the well of her property a young solder that she saves. Both of them are caught and taken prisoners by German soldiers in Emma's own house. Trying to save both, Emma lies the soldiers that the young soldier is her American husband.

She and Jack start on the wrong food by having prejudice of the other but along the development of the plot both of them fell in love deeply. I loved that they started as two people from different backgrounds that have so many differences that by the end they see the others flaws as a strength for themselves. I loved also that after they escape both of them go in helping in the war on different paths and in the end they reunite and their love was even stronger.
Profile Image for Jenny.
1,286 reviews20 followers
August 23, 2009
Emma, trapped on the continent at her family estate after her mother dies, rescues an American soldier and calls him her husband to keep him from harm. But when her estate is taken over by German soldiers, the ruse is more difficult to keep up - especially since she despies Jack, the American in question. But Jack has secrets of his own... secrets of water and of magic...

I was a bit perplexed by this retelling of "The Frog Prince". It almost works, but falls a bit short of the mark. The princess is a wealthy English girl, her golden ball is a locket, and the frog a wounded soldier. Clever, but the novel itself is ultimately unfulfilling. The characters are flat and too much is made of the "frog's" transformation - learning to see himself as Emma sees him and become the prince his mother always knew he was. I found myself skipping paragraphs of mental blather so I could get to a place where something *happens* again. The periodic lack of action wasn't the issue, it was the lack of meaningful substance during the spaces that lacked action. All that being said, it wasn't a terrible book, and would perhaps be enjoyed by tweens and younger teens who are interested in exploring fairy tale retellings.
Profile Image for Alison Diem.
Author 5 books15 followers
July 2, 2009
This was a short and very quick read but I liked it a lot.

It's a re-telling of the Frog Prince story, set in Belgium during WWI. Emma has travelled with her mother to check on the family estate from England but the two are trapped due to the Germans. Emma's mother is killed during an attack and Emma, trapped and alone, spends her time at the estate, just waiting.

Enter Jack- an American who has joined up with the British and Canadians, as the US has not yet joined the war. Fighting in the trenches just below Emma's estate, Jack is caught in the middle of a gas attack and stumbles his way towards water, ending up in Emma's well.

The story is a romance and an adventure tale, with the idea being that Emma and Jack will fall in love and end up together, which I am completely fine with.

However, I do wish that the author had chosen to work with their relationship a bit more. There is the clichéd "love at first sight" business on Jack's end that felt forced. Emma is set up as a girl from a wealthy family who isn't like all the other wealthy girls... and yet, when it counts, that's how she behaves. There seems to be a bit of disconnect between what the author wants Emma to be and what she NEEDS Emma to be for the story to work the way she wants it to.

I did like Emma. Don't get me wrong- she was strong when she had to be but had her moments of "realness" that kept me with her for the whole story. And I really, really loved Jack.

The end happened a bit too quick and I wished there had been more of them after the war- this is a story that I could have read hundreds more pages of. I guess the point of the story was the falling in love part, not the staying in love part, so I understand why it ended where it did but... I wanted more!

The action was really well written. Some of the language was a bit anachronistic and there were some references that didn't make a whole lot of sense given the context. The Germans felt almost Nazi-esque and there was no real talk about the politics about the war.

The author made a point to explain certain things for the YA audience that she's writing for and all of those moments, while recognizable as exposition still flow in the story and move things along. I expected a bit more about the why's and how's of WWI beyond just the offhanded comment Emma makes about the Archduke being assassinated.

But I did like this book. It was a sweet story with fun and interesting characters. The use of the fairy tale element was sweet and well done- not at all off-putting or lame.
Profile Image for Madison.
18 reviews9 followers
June 28, 2022
So entrancing. Jack was a darling, and Emma made me brim with courage. Suzanne Weyn is a wonderful storyteller, brava.
Profile Image for Loraine.
2,913 reviews
December 1, 2015
SUMMARY: Young, beautiful, and wealthy, Emma Pennington is accustomed to a very comfortable life. Although war rages abroad, she hardly feels its effect. She and her mother travel from their home in Britain to the family estate in Belgium, never imagining that the war could reach them there. But it does.

Soon Emma finds herself stranded in a war-torn country, utterly alone. Enemy troops fight to take over her estate, leaving her with no way to reach her family, and no way out.

With all of her attention focused on survival and escape, Emma hardly expects to find love. But the war will teach her that life is unpredictable, people aren't always what they seem, and magic is lurking everywhere.

REVIEW: This is probably the best one of the Once Upon a Fairy Tale series that I have read so far. This book is loosely based on the fairy tale, "The Frog Prince." Set in Belgium during the start of World War I, it reads more like a historical novel than a fairy tale, yet I could find the elements from the fairy tale in the story line. As a WWI historical novel, it was not action packed but still had enough to keep my interest.

I loved the hero, Jack Spratt (not his real name of course), and his southern boy charm. Emma was the perfect proper lady foil for Jack. I liked the fact that both main characters had strong values and stood by their convictions. They were both very compassionate as well. Overall an entertaining read and one of the strongest in this series.
Profile Image for Bookworm.
333 reviews50 followers
December 24, 2019
I was not sure what to expect, and was delighted. WW1 is my favorite adventure era, because there are so few good books in that time frame, and Jack and Emma's relationship was sweet and fairly realistic, I thought. (also can I mention how I love it when authors have characters reading books that I love, like Jane Austen and such?)
There was one bad word, in the beginning; and while the plot moved a trifle fast in some places, it followed plausible paths and outcomes.
Kid...was adorable, and I nearly died with agony over the one scene...
And the Women's signal corp was the perfect touch!! Hardly anyone thinks about that, and I was so thrilled. Ahhh, this was sweet.
Profile Image for Abbey.
65 reviews1 follower
June 27, 2020
A retelling of the frog prince set in Belgium during WWI with espionage and fake marrieds that turn into real feelings. I loved this whole series of retellings as a kid and this one in particular stands up now that I'm an adult.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
315 reviews32 followers
September 5, 2021
A sweet short enemies-to-lovers retelling. It was actually way lighter than I thought it would be for taking place during WWII. Some parts definitely didn't seem realistic, but it was very enjoyable.
11 reviews
February 23, 2017
This book was really well written and entertaining. This book was also informative about the War in Belgium. I liked this book because it was about war but it was also about survival and love. My favorite character is Jack because he's very helpful and he can do almost anything you ask him to do. My favorite part was when Emma wakes up and finds Jack outside while he is about to get killed and she runs to him and then they get released with an offer of two small deep red rubies. Even when they do escape, they still get shot at but most of the bullets miss them.
Profile Image for QNPoohBear.
2,959 reviews1,478 followers
July 13, 2013
Miss Emma Winthrop, a proper English young lady, has found herself on the Western front of the Great War (WWI). Trapped in her family's country home in Belgium with only two old caretakers for company, Emma is at a loss. She dreams of her father to come and take her home. When she receives a shocking letter from her crush, she can only think to rid herself of the picture she placed in her locket by tossing it down the well. However, the locket was a family heirloom and contains something more precious than photographs. Jack Verde is an American wanderer, signed on to fight for the British. Separated from his unit, he struggles to survive the deadly poison gas the Germans have unleashed on the allies. Jack knows the only way to survive is to hold his breath. Luckily for him, he's a champion swimmer and has Louisiana magic on his side. Struggling to rescue a young soldier from his unit, he finds himself blindly stumbling towards safety, which he finds in the bottom of a well. When Emma discovers Jack at the bottom of the well, she thinks him an ugly frog, but learns that he can retrieve her locket for her. Unfortunately, they're captured by the Germans and held prisoner in her home. Jack promises to get her locket if she will give him a kiss. Horrified at the idea, Jack amends his demands to friendship. Emma promises, hoping to be rid of Jack and of the Germans soon and get home to England. With a little help from his mother's spirit, Jack learns to have courage and faith in love. As battle rages on and more Germans take over the manor, Emma and Jack find their lives in danger. They have to trust each other in order to survive. This is a realistic retelling of a little-known fairy tale. The details of World War I are incredibly realistic. The plot is fast paced and danger filled. I couldn't put it down. The ending is a bit rushed, especially the epilogue. I think there should have been a sequel to develop the characters and their relationship a bit better but overall this is a really interesting novel that will appeal to teens and adults.
Profile Image for Mel (Daily Prophecy).
1,075 reviews466 followers
February 2, 2013
Also on http://thedailyprophecy.blogspot.com

Not all the retellings in this series are a success – this is a good example. I liked the promise of this book. It started out as a lovely story. Emma Pennington is stuck in the family estate in Belgium. She never expected the war to come so close, until the German troops arrive. Emma just saved the life of a man. Jack is part of the Allied troops, but Emma lies to the group of German soldiers and tells him that he is her husband. Jack ended up in the well in front of her house after an gas attack. He is badly injured and now they are locked away in a room in the house. They spend a lot of time together and Jack starts to fall in love with Emma, but all she wants is return to her father in Britain.

I liked how there wasn’t an instant-love from both sides. It did annoy me that Emma only realized she loved him, because everybody had to tell her that. And one moment in the book, she’s suddenly like: “Oh yes, they were right. I do love him!” .. I thought you were so intelligent, Emma.

When three Allied soldiers arrive to check out the area, they are taken hostage. One of the soldiers is the young boy Kit, someone Jack knows; he will do everything to safe this boy. Jack has a special ability and it gave him the nickname ‘frog’ Can he safe Kit? And can Jack and Emma escape before it is too late?

The fact that this story is set in our world was great. I loved the war element and the way Weyn used the frog aspect. Emma and Jack started out as good characters. Their interactions where fun, but Jack’s constant begging for a kiss started to annoy me. The middle part dragged a little and that surprise me. I expected more story, because this book only has 194 pages. I couldn’t buy the paranormal aspect around Jack. It felt out of place.

The conclusion is: if you want to read a book from this series, don’t start with this one.
Profile Image for Rachmi .
929 reviews77 followers
February 11, 2015
I never read nor watch the movie of The Frog Prince before, but I get the idea of what it is all about. When I picked this book up, I wonder how the author will tell and transform the hero into the frog. To be honest, reading a frog prince is not that appealing for me. I’m more curious of the way the author retells it, which brings me to this book.

I really like how it feels like a new story for me, despite that I’ve already known (a bit) the story. I also liked the historical setting which takes place during the WWI. It feels like the fairytale isn’t that far away with our world. And the author provides the historical background quite well, I think.

I liked the main characters, Emma and Jack, they are strong will and brave in their own way. Although at first there is prejudice between them, I cannot help not to love their banter and wit. It’s so good reading their dialogues, they can make me smile or even laugh with their wit.

However, I want more about Jack’s magic. I think it doesn’t describe well, at least not as descriptive as I want to. It’s like it’s so natural for Jack he hopes I, as a reader, can understand it without him describing it. And there are also things that I think too easy for the characters. Jack’s magic that feels too convenience for their own good, .

All in all, as my first The Frog Prince retelling I think it’s a good and enjoyable story. It feels too short though. I wish there is more story about Emma’s father , Jack’s family and his magic.
August 3, 2016
The actual rating is 3.5 stars.

The beginning was kind of slow, but kind of intriguing with her getting the letter I also liked how the book switched between the perspectives of the main characters. It becomes interesting when Emma meets her "Frog Prince,"

I found Jack to be interesting with his wild ideas and teasing ways made the book really entertaining. He just seems to lighten things up and adds some humor to the book. It also got really interesting when they get more involved in the war,

The ending was okay. It was just kind of slow. Although I have never read The Frog Prince, this book made me want to read the book even more. Great spin on the Frog Prince, hope that the original book is just as good or even better.
Profile Image for Janus the Erudite Artist.
702 reviews89 followers
September 5, 2011
Watersong is a short, quick tale that I find so endearing.

This is a retelling of the Grimm Brothers’ well known tale, “The Frog Prince,” more or less I should say. It was loosely based on that story anyway. Weyn pretty much played around with the idea of it and although endowed with magic, giving it a more realistic approach.

The story was set on the brink of World War I. With that I mind, I expected this to be sinking into the depressing state of events. Fortunately, I got a spunky, funny and surprisingly entertaining tale instead.

What made Watersong a winner for me was how distinctive and appealing the two main characters were. Emma and Jack were witty and virtuous. I love them individually and I also love them together.

I don’t have much to say about it since this really is just short and if I babble on, I might give it away. It’s a book any fairytale-loving person can appreciate for its rareness, sweetness, and all the other niceness. Okay, I’m not making sense, sorry; just note that this is really a good book to read and I totally recommend it. It’s a simple and hasty tale you’ll get to enjoy.

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog:
The Blair Book Project @ www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Holly.
1,792 reviews125 followers
July 16, 2015
Actually vastly more interesting than I was anticipating, seeing my hit-and-miss record with these Once Upon a Time books.

Set during WWI, this is a very loose retelling. Which I thought was actually pretty awesome. (I thought the same about Spirited, the colonial America retelling of Beauty and the Beast.) I liked that it stuck to the bare bones of the original tale, but the story was completely its own.

While I enjoyed the characters of Jack and Emma, I thought there could have been more character development to them. They felt kind of flat, even though they're the main characters. There were some moments when I got really strong flickers of emotion from them (or between them?), but it was more rare than I thought it should be.

But the setting itself is awesome. Besides the WWI part, we're in Belgium on an estate that is basically a castle. Dude. Way to modernize a fairytale.

Also, this is an incredibly fast read. Like, 2 hours tops from start to finish.
Profile Image for Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨.
1,062 reviews615 followers
January 3, 2013
I was very much surprised by this book. Since it's a retelling of the fairy tale The Frog Prince, I was expecting some sort of fantasy world with enchantments, princesses and grand balls. Instead I got a normal girl trapped in a big house in Belgium during World War I. Not really what I thought I was getting myself into. But the surprise was a pleasant one. It worked really well, and I still felt the fairy tale appeal in the story. The only thing that I didn't really like about this book was the evolution of the relationship between Emma and Jack. To me it simply evolved too quickly and when they declared their love for each other it was far too much. They are two 17-year olds but this love they have found with each other has completely changed them and saved them from themselves. I'm sorry, but that just didn't really seem believable.
Profile Image for Hanna.
960 reviews29 followers
October 12, 2008
This is not my favorite book in the Once Upon A Time Series because it really has nothing to do with the real story of The Frog Prince. Its about this girl who lives in a wealthy family and she and her mother go tho live in one of their estates. This dude from America joins the war he can swim very well hence he is the frog. They fall in love. But through out reading it i was like this is definetly not the best book in the series.
Profile Image for Jamie Dacyczyn.
1,582 reviews88 followers
June 21, 2019
2.5 stars. A unique, not-very-believable historical retelling of The Frog Prince. Obviously you can't get much story done in only 200 pages, but Weyn at least gets her pacing better than Dokey, a different author in this series. This is set in the first World War, and it's very WWI-lite. Feels like some research has been attempted, but any historian would tear it apart in a second. With no magic component, the retelling aspect felt a bit watered down.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
579 reviews76 followers
May 18, 2012
Een zalige hervertelling van de Kikkerkoning. Voor een keer speelt het zich niet af in een of ander ver ver land. Nee, het speelt zich af in België. In de Westhoek tijdens de eerste wereldoorlog meer bepaald. Misschien lijkt het vreemd om in die setting een sprookje te hervertellen, maar het is perfect gedaan.
Profile Image for Rosalee.
353 reviews
May 15, 2009
This is a twist on the Frog Prince set during World War One. I really enjoyed this book. I love that it was set during a war. It kept me riveted from the beginning. I really liked the characters in the book.
Profile Image for K..
887 reviews108 followers
August 16, 2009
As a lover of fairy tales, I had hopes for this series. Badly done. Stupid dialogue. At least it was 100% clean, that was appreciated. So nothing to gripe at, except it just wasn't very good.
Profile Image for Jessica.
19 reviews
July 13, 2011
emma whinthrope is beautiful, rich, and trapped in belgium during world war one. at her family estate she is all alone except for her elderly caretakers, her mother has just died in an air raid not to long ago. the story starts with a well, emma throws a locket that has been passed down for generations into the well due to the two faced nature of her ex boyfriend.

enter jack, the american who has joined the british army, after surviving a bombing on the ship that he was sailing on, he is known as the frog, he can hold his breath longer than anyone in his county, and can swim super fast. his mother has been called a witch because she can heal anyone or prevent them from suffering if she can't, she is a decendent of an ancient indian royalty that inhabited the mississippi area. he is from new orleans, and has the best southern accent. you first meet him in the trenches just below emma's estate house, he and a bunch of others have just been gassed out of the trench, and he runs for safety, and lands up in emma's well.

emma finds jack and gets him out of the well, only to find that the germans have taken over her house as a base, she saves jacks life by telling the officer that he is her husband, they are then confined to the master bedroom, as german prisioners, where jack requests only one thing, a kiss, emma,repulsed both by his looks and by his manners, refuses.

they both hate each other, it's actually kind of funny when they spat because he makes her mad just because he can and she can't stand it. jack compares their relationship to pride and prejudice. eventually emma asks jack to get her locket out from the well, he agrees to on the condition that she will be his friend and give him a sisterly kiss, again she is repulsed by this request and refuses. taking matters into her own hands she is allowed outside one day, and she slips into the well, swimming down to where she can see her locket at the bottom her foot gets caught in a crack, she begins to drown, when she see's a gigantic thing coming towards her, a big frog is what she thought she saw. she is saved by jack but he doesn't tell her because he wanted to keep the secret tunnel that he found a secret. she does get the locket back from jack.

over time emma is able to go to the town to buy supplies, only if she spys for the germans, she agrees, not really having much of a choice, feeding the germans information that they already know.
while jack is fighting the war his own way, when he recovers, it is revealed that the two caretakers are in the underground and they need jack to put the information that they gather into code, he agrees, and they agree not to tell emma for her safety.

emma one day, on one of her outings is given the chance to escape, she gets about a quarter mile outside the market before she opens a letter from her father which was smuggled in. he talks about promises, and she feels guilty for leaving jack, so she goes back.

one day they recieve three new prisioners, they had been sent to spy out the house so that the army could take the house back for their own base, one of the soldiers is a boy they call kid, he and jack had gotten separtated in the gassing, and jack was relieved to see that he had made it through. jack displays his mothers healing abilities as he heals kid, who had been shot by the german officer, he uses the magic that his mother had, and the soldiers mention that kid couldn't have done better in an army hospital.

after a few days the soldiers are taken to another room for questioning, and jack is given the positin of barbar to the german soldiers, while he is gone emma can hear the screams and interrogation of the soldiers and she becomes afraid, after coming back and seeing emma in such a state he promises to act, and he does.

emma wakes the next morning to german solders taking kid out to the pond, where they fill his jacket and pants with stones, shoot him and throw him in the pond, emma is horrified and escapes the house to try to help kid, she couldn't see anything so she decides that she can't stay anymore and escapes again, only to run across kid, who is still alive and hidden well, she discovers a mud plaster on kids shoulder where he had been shot, and knew who had saved him, jack, she ends up taking kid to a farm house where they promise to send him back through the underground, she then leaves and returns to the estate house, she confronts jack with the knowledge and demands to know how he got out. he relents and shows her the tunnel in the bathroom.

they eventually hear some informatin that they know the allies need to hear, jack plans his escape, his plan is to get to the allies without emma, both to keep her safe and to keep her from slowing him down. only she has pretty much the same plan, except they go together. he refuses and sprays sleeping powder on her face, he then escapes through the tunnel.

emma wakes up later to find that jack is gone and has left her a poem, the german officer then finds out through other channels that emma is not married to jack and sets out of find jack so that he can kill them. emma fearing for her life escapes through the tunnel, leaving her lanturn in the tunnel, she comes across the door that jack had been using to get out, a door in the wall of the well. she escapes only to see that her lanturn has now set her home on fire, she escapes and finds jack in the middle of a field covered in mud that will act like quicksand, emma rushes out into the field only to get sucked down in, jack saves her but they end up getting caught by a german patrol, emma wakes on a cot to find that jack is gone. she looks out the window only to see that a german soldier is prepared to shoot jack, she rushes out throws her arms around him and kisses him, finally, telling him that she loves him, she is then able to bribe the soldier, as they run toward the nearby river she gets shot in the shoulder, and jack has to support her while they swim through the river.

emma eventually passes out from pain, and when jack can swim no more he gets them on shore only to find that she is not breathing and there is no heart beat, next came my favorite scene, jack tries to revive her performing cpr and when all fails he lifts his head while pushing and sings a healing song that is mother taught him, a plea to the great spirit for help and healing, i was very touched by this scene because i could see how much he loved her, it was by far my favorite scene. only after he finishs singing does his efforts finally start her heart again, while she sleeps and recovers he builds a raft, and eventually gets them to the allied city of dunkirk where they are picked up by british soldiers, one of them being kid.

after recovering, jack goes back into the army, and emma joins the war effort relaying messages by switchboard, the write letter to eachother, til the war ends, she becomes concerned because she had sent a letter to his army headquarters and he hadn't responded back. she goes back to belgium where she was to meet him, she see's motorized taxis and hates having to ride in one because they reminded her of all the tanks and warfare she saw, she is saved from having to ride in one by a handsome young man, who she instantly recongizes, you got it, jack. she gives him a warm welcome and notices that he has a medal on his uniform, the victoria cross, she exclaims that she was glad that she wasn't there to see how he got it, he replies that she was there the whole time, he got it for passing information on through enemy lines, and he replies that they get to share it.

this book really is a very touching book, i loved how the author describes the horrors of war enough that children could read it, but adults can understand the great sacrifice, i loved jack and emma, they were such a sweet couple, i loved the pride and prejudice reference. this one is definately one of my most favorite once upon a time series books, maybe i need to read all the others again, just to see if i enjoy them more this time around. i also loved the reference to bayou magic and how simple and complicated it is. i hope this review helps, sorry for all the spoilers.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Courtney Squire.
131 reviews
September 13, 2018
I'm rating this book 1.5 stars. This book was so poorly written, it almost hurt to read through the entire thing. I have a lot of questions...
Is Jack a Frog Prince? Or is he just hallucinating?
Can he turn into a frog, or is he just very skillful?
What are these weird dreams that can only come from a druggy?
Is Jack on drugs???
Why does Emma say she loves him when he's been nothing but an a**hole towards her?
Why does Jack love Emma besides her pretty face?
Why were there two red rupees in her locket? And how on earth could they have been useful in an emergency? (The anticipation to know what's inside the locket, just to see a useless pair of rupees was painful to read.)
How come Emma doesn't reunite with her father?
All of these questions are unanswered and it's highly disappointing to me. The fact that we get zero backstory from Jack besides his mom being this weird voodoo magic woman, just made the story hard to follow and extremely confusing.
Emma thought that his face looked like a frog, but when she confronted him about it, Jack denied it. Yet, he has these weird dreams of being a prince and the water can sing to him out of nowhere? Does this guy really have magic or is he just psychotic?
And I hated how Jack was instantly in love with Emma when he knew absolutely nothing about her except her pretty face and nice bod. When he spoke to her, he was always disrespectful and acted like a douche-bag. She was upset at this douche-ness and then she suddenly had a thought pop into her head that she loved him. Are you sure you didn't slip her one of your magic love potions, Jack? Because no woman in her right mind would fall for you when you act so immature.
There was this big buildup to them escaping the Germans that I was expecting this intense battle. But no, they wandered through mud and handed a soldier some rupees so they could run away. And weirdly, that was the end of the book.
There's only one thing to say about this book.
It sucked.
End of discussion.
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