I found A Necklace of Fallen Stars in the library when I was a child, and it stuck with me. I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but the cover on this one is highly memorable. It's beautiful. Unfortunately, it's out of print... I found it at another local library a couple of years ago and re-read it for myself, but still couldn't find it for less than $60 on ebay...
Then, last year, I found it on Amazon, used, and not to spendy, either. Hurrah! I ordered it immediately for Evalina and decided that it was a good departure from the Little House books, so it was a good time to read it.
The Story: Kaela is not your typical princess. She doesn't like the pomp and circumstance of Court, and she likes to spend time with the commoners and tells them stories. Her father didn't appreciate her free spirit, and in an effort to quash it, he arranges her marriage to an unbearable man, Duke Gavrin. Unable to face the thought of it, Kaela runs away. On her travels, she meets a young minstrel named Kippen, and together they flee from Stafgrym, the evil wizard in the employ of Gavrin and her father. He plays tunes and she tells tales to pay their way across the land, and they become very close to each other in the process. Meanwhile, Stafgyrm convinces her father to charge her with high treason, and also convinces him to throw her kind sister Melina, and her sometimes unreasonable sister Tamara into the dungeon as well. Can Kaela somehow manage to get out of marrying Gavrin, escape Stafgrym, and can her sisters be saved?
The Good: Kaela is strong and spunky and likable. Kippen is similar, and loyal. The evil characters, particularly Stafgrym, and really despicable. Melina would be a good big sister for anyone. The journey is exciting, and all the while, Kaela tells simply wonderful stories. And there is a really fabulously described winged horse that Evalina really enjoyed.
The Bad: The story is sometimes disjointed, and Evalina was disappointed in the rather abrupt ending. The king's behavior is at times reprehensible, and really difficult to understand. He is prideful to a fault. And Stafgrym is rather scary and sinister.
The Verdict: Evalina didn't love this as much as I did when I was a child, but I believe that parts of it will definitely stick with her. I hope that she revisits it in the years to come. It was probably more of a nostalgic love of mine than anything else. Still, I do think it's a good story, and if you can find a copy, give it a try. I wish that the ending was better, though. I can use my imagination and think of what might have happened, but Evalina wanted something more concrete. I still have a deep seated love for the book, though I wonder if the idea is better than the book itself.