Another of her retold faery tales/elemental masters series, this book was very different than I expected. It starts off with a father looking for food for his heavily pregnant wife and his eight children. In the time period in Germany there were many families in just such a straight. A hard working father just not making enough to feed his family. He finds what he believes is an abandoned home and garden and decides to raid it to feed his family. Of course it belonged to a witch..or more an elemental master who demands his most current child as payment.
Unlike the usual run of this story the elemental master is actually a good woman who knows that the child will be an elemental magic user and decides to step in to save both the child and the family. She gives the father and family the home and takes the baby girl far away to raise her. As you can imagine a child in the 1800s with magic in Germany would be ostracized if not out right killed.
Now mix into this the research part. See Ms Lackey always does a ton of research and you can tell. In that century there were a collection of books by an German author about the American wild west. They were hugely popular but well...not accurate. She has mixed in those books and real history along with the magic we all crave to give us a great tale.
I could write tons about this novel and how much I enjoyed the mix of wild west show, German myths and legends and faerie tales but why not just read it and enjoy. This series just keeps getting better and better IMO