Dearest, by Alethea Kontis, is the third book in a series about the seven daughters of a woodcutter, each of whom is magically gifted with the attributes of the seven days of the week in the old rhyme (Monday's child is fair of face, Tuesday's child is full of grace, etc). They are named for the days of the week too, and this third book is about Friday (loving and giving). (aside--as a Wednesday's child, "full of woe," I was never fond of this rhyme. We had to draw a picture of ourselves as our day of the week; I drew stick figure me in a purple dress standing in the rain....but I don't hold it against the books!)
When Sunday married a prince, Friday's world expanded likewise. But all is not well in the realm--a magical ocean has flooded the land, bringing its people to the brink of famine. And seven swan brothers have taken refuge in an old tower in the castle; they are being perused by their enemy, determined to make sure that the curse on them can't be broken. And Friday, loving and giving, is determined to help them and their sister do just that.
The seven swan brothers is one of my favorite fairytales, and this is a retelling that sticks pretty closely to the original. There is also reference to the goose girl story, though not central to the plot, and a whif of Peter Pan.
This is just pure escapist reading goodness for those who like fantasy where the bad things are clearly not going to be allowed to take over, and where there's a nice, fairly straightforward romance. It does not make any particular demands on the reader, but simply sets the stage for the story and lets all unfold very nicely indeed. Those who have read the previous two books (Enchanted, and Hero) will be pleased to see the sisters again, those who have not might be a bit confused, but not so much so as to be deterred.
On the slightly downside, Friday sure is loving and giving, so much so that she's not the most satisfyingly nuanced character ever. And it was so clear that all would end well that there's not much tension to the swan story; the much more mundane possibility of famine and efforts to avert it was more interesting to me. The first two books were twistier, and so more mentally engaging.
That being said, younger teens, and older readers willing to relax into the story, can look forward to being enchanted! I don't think I'll ever need to read it again, but I sure did enjoy it the first time around!