When she is 16, Jilly is brought to Queen Eleanor who tells her of her past and outfits her like the queen she is: Queen Jilliana of Talshamar.

Jilliana goes to London to complete the task set before her. She must save Prince Ruyen and Princess Cassandra of Falconbruine from certain death at Henry's hand. She knows that Henry will not harm her if he hopes to keep Talshamar out of his enemy's hands.

Jilliana's ruse forces Henry's hand, but she finds that she must marry Ruyen to save his life. Jilliana and Ruyen agree to annul the marriage after she has produced an heir.

Ruyen's pride and Jilliana's temper give rise to a stormy relationship. They travel to the island kingdom of Falconbruine to discover that Ruyen's power-hungry mother, Queen Melesent, is destroying the country.

Ruyen and Jilliana band together to fight the evil Queen and neither rumors of death, fear of danger, nor imprisonment can prevent them from rescuing their infant daughter from the wicked woman's power.

ONCE UPON A TIME is akin to a childhood fairytale, but fairytales can come true. Constance O'Banyon writes a tender story and you'll admire Jilliana for her courage and intelligence. A delicious cotton candy read. SENSUAL (Mar., 400 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill Brager