Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey (Published by Simon Pulse, Feburary 10, 2009)
Mulan is not like most other girls in ancient China. She has grown up without a mother, and rather than spend her days doing ladylike tasks and dreaming of marriage, she has learned to fight using a sword and bow. Her father is somewhat distant and doesn’t like to speak of his late wife, and Mulan often wonders if she is a disappointment to him.
When the Emperor forms an army to fight the Huns, every household must send one male to fight. Mulan’s aging father has recently remarried, and Mulan remembers well that her own mother died giving birth while her father was away at war. Fearing for her father’s safety and not wanting her stepmother to go through what her mother did, Mulan decides to disguise herself as a boy and go in her father’s place. She becomes close to Prince Jian, the commander of her unit, but telling him that she is really a girl, and her feelings are deeper than friendship, could lead to disaster.
This was an overall enjoyable book from the Once Upon a Time series. I liked that it had a very unusual setting compared to other books in the series, and the story isn’t one that has been retold many times. Although this book wasn’t among my top favorites, it was a solid, enjoyable read that should appeal to readers who enjoyed other books in this series.