This book was precisely the kind of lush, vividly imagined fantasy that I enjoy, and it focused around a mythical creature--trolls--that we don't often hear of. At least, not as the heroes. (Though I have my own suspicions as to what the trolls *really* are).
Cecile de Troyen's life is just about to begin (her diva mother has arranged for her to come to the city to begin a career as a singer) when she is kidnapped and sold to the trolls--as a bride for the king's son.
Cecile is not unnaturally horrified, both to find that the trolls she's always assumed were just a story are, in fact, real, and at her abduction and forced marriage. It's not that she finds her prospective husband unattractive (as a point of fact, the prince, Tristan, is unnaturally good looking). It's simply that he's a troll. He's not human. And he clearly has no time or affection for her. Their marriage is a matter of convenience, an attempt to fulfill a prophesy that says that a human bride can break the spell that keeps the trolls bound to their mountain. If she could run, she would. Unfortunately, their marriage vows also mean that Cecile can feel what Tristan feels--and if she dies, Tristan will die too.
Tristan is not entirely what he seems, either. Though trolls cannot lie, they are particularly good at misdirection and manipulation. And Tristan is in the middle of a campaign to challenge his father and change the face of Trollus. The more Cecile learns about Tristan, Trollus, and the spell that binds them, the more unsure she is about what she actually wants.
The book started out slowly for me, but I was intrigued enough to keep reading, and I'm glad I did. The romance between Cecile and Tristan was great (just the kind of heart-twinging conflict that I love), and Trollus was an intricate, vividly imagined world. While I do think the pacing of the book was also a bit slow (the story could have been trimmed without much damage to the plot or character development), the story was rewarding: a lovely, lyrical, dark fantasy.