My sister, Abigail, is an awesome Irish dancer. Even when she was a baby we used to joke that she had "springs on her feet"! She started dancing at Caitrin Academy when she was little and has competed all over the US and Ireland. I bought this book for her years ago. It's technically not on our bookshelf, but Abigail is letting me borrow it for this post.
It has fairies, Irish lore, a fiery determined girl, and a sweet love story. Perfect for my sister!
To be sure, Biddy Malone loved to sing and dance. But her singing was like a rusty gate in a wild west wind, and when she danced, her great dundering feet fell over each other, which was terrible considering Biddy Malone always wanted the best for herself. So whenever she made a mistake, she kicked and screamed something awful, her temper being a fine fierce thing.
One day Biddy stomps out of the house in a rage and finds herself in the woods at "the soft hour between day and night, when shadows played games with the eyes." She's in a faerie village and she meets the faerie prince who gives her three wishes.
Biddy's wishes are "to sing as sweetly as a thrush and dance as lightly as a deer" and to quell her temper with a "loving heart".
As she grows she works hard. With no help at all from the wishes, Biddy went on singing and dancing. She made her own magic from the faerie music within her, until her voice was oh so pure and her feet oh so nimble that her performance was something to behold.
Later, as a young woman, she visits the faerie village again and learns the value of all her practicing. To be sure, if her talents had been given to her for nothing, they would have been worth just that. It was all her hard work that had made her singing and dancing her own. And she finds the love that had been planted in her heart all those years ago.