This one was better on the re-read. No matter what I write, I will not be able to convey just how good this book is.
Knife is horribly disfigured and treated appallingly by the people of the town he lives in. In his pain and in an attempt to protect himself, his personality becomes abrasive and abusive. He only talks to his mother and sister, who love him unconditionally. When his sister turns down an offer of marriage to stay and protect him, Knife makes an agreement with Aerie-Smith, the cousin of Gwen’s suitor. Knife will spend a year on Aerie-smith’s island and then be returned to his mother and sister, wherever they are.
Aerie-Smith’s island is under a terrible curse that turns the inhabitants into animals that are slowly losing their humanity. When Knife arrives the curse has the opposite effect on him, turning him into the beautiful man he should have been. With the help of Aerie-Smith and his townspeople, Knife slowly learns that he is worthy, and his personality changes to what it would have been. He is beautiful both inside and out. His job on the island is to help break the curse and free the inhabitants from their animal bodies. During this time he gets to know the townspeople and uses his skills to help them creating bonds that will never be broken.
A beautiful book that I highly recommend.