Deep Secret, by Diana Wynne Jones
I found it difficult to get into at first, but things picked up toward the end of the first third of the book. I enjoyed this SO MUCH MORE than Howl's Moving Castle, but I really hate the romantic angle that develops toward the latter third part of the book. (Which is how I felt, too, about the 'romance' in Howl's Moving Castle. It's as if the romance isn't organic to the story, and (at least to me) almost feels like it was put there because, well, there OUGHT to be SOME romance here for romantically-inclined readers.) HMC started off quite nicely (loved the fairy-tale feel of the beginning) but the romantic ending did not sit well with me at all. I might have enjoyed it more if it ended the way it did, but without the romance.
But back to Deep Secret. I admire the story telling and the plot twists in this story. It was virtually un-put-down-able in the end, and I read through it, even if I was too tired (really) to go on (been busy, and sick). Which means I ought to re-read it soon!
Thanks, A, for lending it to me!
And because of this book, I just might pick up hellkitten's recommendation that I start on the Chrestomanci series.