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Ondine [Paperback]

Ebony McKenna
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

June 10 2010 Ondine
One boy, one girl, one spell to be broken. A fairytale romance for girls with a very unlikely Prince Charming. Ondine de Groot is a normal fifteen-year-old who lives with her family in the European country of Brugel. She has a pet ferret called Shambles. But Shambles is no ordinary ferret ...He's Hamish McPhee, a boy cursed by a witch. A witch who happens to be related to Ondine. When Shambles turns back into Hamish temporarily, Ondine knows that she has to help him break the spell. He is the most gorgeous boy she has ever met and her one true love! He just can't remain a ferret forever. Can he? Praise for Ondine: 'Ondine is hard to resist ...oozes romantic longing' Bookseller & Publisher, Australia; 'brilliantly witty fairy tale', 'quirkly and wittily fantastic ...laugh out loud tale', 'I had a hard time putting it down'; 'Ebony is an absolute marvel when it comes to humour'; 'original and quirky - wonderful use of witty footnotes throughout' Scott Pack, Me and My Big Mouth blog. Ebony McKenna's second book Ondine: The Autumn Palace continues the most unlikely of fairytales.

Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

The decision to leave a career in journalism was a logical choice for Ebony. There wasn't enough time in the day to write the fictional stories she wanted to tell, against the factual that she had to tell. She followed her heart towards writing science fiction, romance and young adult adventures. Ebony now writes full time and lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband and young son.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Lost for Words Aug. 20 2010
Source: Received from author. Many thanks goes to Ebony McKenna for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 5/5

Ondine de Groot is a normal girl, residing in Brugel. She has adopted a ferret named Shambles, and is surprised to learn that he talks. She is further surprised when she learns that he was once a young man, and that a witch, related to her, had cursed him to spend his life as a ferret. She sets out to break the spell on him, but can she do it, or is he doomed to spend eternity as a ferret?
I absolutely loved this book. I found both Ondine and Shambles engaging, I loved their banter, and found myself immersed fully in their world. Shambles is a cheeky ferret, and it's quite easy to see how he got into trouble in the first place. His Scottish accent makes him all the more endearing, and his phrases will have you giggling in no time. I absolutely loved, and have never seen before in a fiction novel, the footnotes. They explained certain phrases, so we could follow along easily. Most of the time, the footnotes were tongue in cheek, and the explanations were just as funny as the original phrasing.
Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with the characters; and enjoyed getting to know Ondine's full family, as well as Shambles, and Ondine herself. Her parents, and siblings, as well as their respective partners kick up the action, and they keep Ondine on her toes. Things are quite lively, and I found the book refreshing. I cannot wait for the next installment in this series. I'm rooting for Shambles/Hamish and Ondine, and can't wait to see where McKenna takes them next. If this book is any indication, we are in for a treat.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original, cute, fairytale romantic comedy June 19 2010
By Kate McMurry - Published on
Fifteen-year-old Ondine de Groot lives at her family's business, a combination hotel and pub in the imaginary Eastern European country of Brugel. Ondine has worked for years alongside her mother, father and two older sisters cleaning rooms, serving customers and scrubbing dirty dishes. But at the start of the story her mother has sent her to the other side of Brugel to Psychic Summercamp for several weeks in order to develop her extra-sensory skills. Though these are accepted as a normal and desirable part of life in Brugel, Ondine doesn't believe she has any such talents, in spite of her mother's insistence that Ondine must be psychic because it runs in the family. Bored and homesick after only a week at camp, Ondine decides to sneak out of camp and run away to her home. Her only hesitation before leaving is what to do with Shambles. He's an adorable ferret who showed up not long before, "face-deep in her secret stash of Brugelwurst sausage," and he's been following her like a lap dog ever since. He's so attached to Ondine, in fact, she feels guilty about leaving him behind. She's convinced her mother wouldn't want a ferret at their hotel, so she tells herself if she brings Shambles along, she can find him a good home with someone else. In the midst of her trip home, though, Shambles suddenly begins talking to her in a thick Scottish accent, and Ondine wonders if she's gone crazy. Shambles assures her she hasn't. He can talk because he used to be a Scottish laird named Hamish until he angered a witch. She put a spell on him that changed him into a ferret and has also preserved him, in a non-aging state, for scores of years. And thus begins the hilarious adventures of Ondine's "Summer of Shambles."

The structure of this book is quite original. The author has written it in a fairy-tale, omniscient voice with a witty, intrusive narrator who reminds me of a combination of the narrator in Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice and the voiceover narrator of the classic movie, A Christmas Story. Ondine is an appealing character, producing many very amusing moments as she is tugged in multiple directions by the demands of her various family members, but most of all by the antics of Shambles/Hamish. Ondine's quirky relatives are a big part of the fun, especially her mother, and the villain is very well suited to a fairy tale. But of all the great characters in this book, Shambles/Hamish steals the show. He is outrageously outspoken, and a hilarious mixture of man and ferret in his living habits. His eternal pursuit of sausage is one of the cutest plot devices for getting Shambles in trouble throughout the book, and his distinctive take on life expressed in a steady stream of Scottish colloquial expressions had me constantly chuckling. Finally, like all good romantic comedies, this book has a satisfying, upbeat ending.

The author of Ondine is from Australia, and this book was originally published in Great Britain. According to the author's website, she is busy writing a sequel so we have more of the wonderful world of Shambles and Ondine to look forward to. Hopefully the American release won't be delayed too long because I can't wait!

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 5 stars
Subcharacters: 5 stars
Fantasy World-Building: 4 stars
Writing: 4 stars
Chick-Lit Plot: 4 stars
Romantic Subplot: 4 stars
Overall: 5 stars
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Funny, Ferret-y Book! June 22 2014
By Aditi@AThousandWordsAMillionBooks - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition


A fairy tale retelling- that makes you feel like you’re riding with Cinderella in the carriage to the ball or singing with the animals like Snow White- with a modernized, hilariously unique twist- The Summer of Shambles is one book you CANNOT miss!

Ondine is your perfect teenager- craving romance, freedom a little bit of drama and more that a bit of magic all while searching for her individuality. She has fights with her mother, sisters, arguments that finally land up in her winning with her father- and now, a talking ferret that she can’t stop thinking about!

Shambles was simply brilliant- a Scottish ragamuffin with a conscious and so, SO delightful! He comes off as a rouge in the beginning but not too much after you see what an absolute darling he can be! When he does turn temporarily into a man, all of this gets even better!- I LOVED every minute of the romance between Ondine and Hamish!

An assassination plot, a gorgeous, sneaky prince, a ferret that can’t remain a man, a fun loving, all around crazy family, a whole boatload of romance!- READ IT!

My Verdict:

If you’ve ever read a fairy tale, this is the perfect YA book to make you feel the same way!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good May 21 2014
By admiration - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is full of laughter and happiness in the characters and the story is interesting as always. A good read for all ages.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tingly & Sparky! Jan. 17 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a delightful read! The Summer of Shambles is a sweet story of love, kingdoms and ferrets with the mischievous Ondine challenged with saving the Duke from a devious plot.

This is also the start of Ondine and Hamish's romance. Who knew ferrets could be so good looking in their human form. Can wicked magic be undone?

The writing style is just right for that wonderful age when the world of romance and love is just beginning. All tingly and sparky! :-)

The setting is superb! I want to book my next holiday in Brugel blending the best of European quirky destinations into one. What's not to like about castles and excellent scenery plus great food. Of course, I'm expecting them to score much higher at Eurovison next year though!

And footnotes! What a brilliant way to introduce backstory without disturbing the flow of the main story. And so quirky too!

With the fast moving story, footnotes and feisty characters, The Summer of Shambles will appeal to the intelligent reader who wishes an escape into a world where anything is possible.

Even good looking ferrets ...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story, I liked it very much Aug. 31 2013
By Ceri - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book was very interesting, I liked the sense of humour and the slight romantic feeling. Although I think this is a book more for young children I read it at the age of 13. I couldn't get my nose out of it and I can't wait to read the next book in the series!!
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