Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
Albina by Aleksandra Layland is set in the historical fantasy land of Pomerania, where Albina, the only daughter of Lord and Lady Kennet, is unlike her siblings. She is not only intelligent but can see her late grandmothers who guide her onto the right path in life. On her first day at school, she and her twin brother encounter prejudice for the first time, because of their mixed-race heritage. It is only her family's royal ancestry that ensures she is accepted. As Albina grows up, it is clear that she will not be following her culture's expectations of marrying at 16, but instead she pursues her passion of science, gained from her father’s side. Albina always strives to live in accordance with her culture, but then she meets Denis. Although there is instant chemistry, she realizes there is another part of her heritage she knows little about. Albina dreams of opening her own laboratory one day but that may be threatened when a charming professor enters her life.
I thought the way the author has written Albina’s story in the first person was a great idea, as we see inside this character's beautiful soul. Although set in the fictitious land of Pomerania, the subjects covered so sensitively could also be related to today’s society. There are life lessons throughout this novella regarding prejudice and the importance of accepting people based on their hearts and intentions. I thought the relationship between Albina and Denis was a true meeting of mind and souls. The arrogant personality of the professor was subtle but perfect. This story has everything I look for: well-constructed characters that you would love to meet, an enchanting setting, and a plot that makes you ponder long after the final page is turned. I really didn’t want the story to end and I think now I will have to read more books in the Windflower Saga.