I read this book in middle school or before, which would mean publication in 2002 - 2003 at the latest, though I couldn't tell you how old the book was when I read it. I started writing down books I read in 2004, so that helps. I remember very little.

It was in the young adult/teen section of library, but it could have been mis-shelved. Setting is medieval-ish, probably UK/Europe, forests and towns.

Female main character is not quite human (I think), or maybe is very hideous. She lives apart from humans, maybe in a forest. One day she sees a human man and falls in love. He is already engaged to a woman (maybe). Main female shape-shifts or disguises herself to look like a normal woman (possibly Man's love interest). She wins his love, something bad happens to his fiancée (maybe main female did something?), and then her disguise slips/she shifts back to show her true self. He is horrified by her true form. She tries to make amends/is banished back to forest(?). She either ends the book lonely, transformed to an inanimate thing (stone?), or dead.

The tone/style is older, if that helps, like the tone of "A Wizard of Earthsea," or "Maven Many-Shaped."

I seem to remember stonework as setting being prominent. The cover may have had a female-looking woman-thing with inhumanly large eyes in a forest or in front of stone ruins. The cover art was also an older style.

I've been looking for this book for a decade now. I appreciate any help.

ETA 2017-02-05: Updated timeline, made a few small changes in phrasing. I am still looking for this book. The tone might be described as "gothic." As I got it from the library, I would think it unlikely that it was a completely unknown book unless it was by a local author (greater Rochester, NY area).

ETA 2018-06-10: Though I think it unlikely the author is completely unknown, I also think this was not one of the more well-known authors. I worked at this same library for four years after reading this book, and I never saw it again though I kept my eyes peeled. (And the style didn't quite match any author I recognized.)

  • do you remember anything on the actual cover? Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 9:45
  • Just what I said - A female-looking thing with very large eyes. The cover may have been very dark-colored. I am afraid my memory is very hazy. Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 15:36
  • sorry should have been more clear. was meaning the actual colours and text sizes it sometime helps narrow things down or jogs someone's memory. Hope it is found it sounds interesting. Sorta makes me think of Piers Anthony's work. Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 15:53
  • Oh! It was not colorful, but I don't really recall colors/sizes. Just DARK. It was definitely NOT Piers Anthony, but that's a good idea. I've read a lot of his Xanth and other books. I think the story was written in an older style than he uses. I don't think it was any of the really recognizable names (not Piers Anthony, Mercedes Lackey, Tamora Pierce, etc.), but I could be wrong. This might have been before I started working at the library, in which case I would be less likely to recognize authors. Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 17:08
  • 1
    The overall plotline here sounds a lot like a forestified version of The Little Mermaid (the original fairytale, not the Disney version). Is it possible that this story was a retelling of that one? Might a listing of stories based on it help?
    – Some Guy
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 10:34


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