Characteristically fresh, dainty fantasy from the author of The Book of Atrix Wolfe (1995), etc. Far-seeing, fey, independent Rois Melior spends much of the summer barefoot, roaming the woods about ruined Lynn Hall--until the estate's owner, Corbet, returns to claim his birthright. But supposedly the place is cursed, Corbet's father having murdered his grandfather there. Soon Rois glimpses an otherworld of perpetual summer, where Corbet seems to have spent most of his life--but Corbet's gaze falls upon Laurel, Rois's beautiful elder sister. Vastly curious about Corbet, his family, and the otherworld, Rois lingers at the Hall as winter deepens. Eventually she's drawn into the otherworld, where she meets Corbet, his father, and the world's incomprehensible ruling goddess; later she wakes in the Hall, half-frozen, beside the youthful corpse of Corbet's father, knowing that the goddess has forbidden Corbet to return. Laurel begins to pine away, much as Rois's mother did years before. But Rois realizes that the goddess has given her the means to win Corbet's freedom and save Laurel's life--if she has the courage and the will to hold fast to her need. Tingling and affecting work; a vast shame, then, that--like previous McKillip offerings--the plot's too frail and underdeveloped to do justice to the delightful, delicate filigree of her prose.