The story of Rosalind and her dragon's claw was a much sadder one than I expected. We learn right off the bat that Rosalind has had the curse of a dragon's claw since she was born, and only her mother knows of its existence. They began a fashion of wearing gloves all of the time in order to protect Rosalind from the people's scrutiny. She is already fated to be the 21st Queen of Wilde Island, the one who will end the war with the dragons and restore the Islands to glory. Her mother of course was aware of the fact that she would give birth to this prophesied queen, but when she had trouble getting pregnant, she used a witch's method of drinking from a dragon's egg, unknowingly creating the curse for her daughter.
The saddest part of the story is the lives of the dragons. When the dragon who has been terrorizing the island is killed, Rosalind feels a tremendous depression upon seeing the body. One of the most upsetting scenes in the book is when, during the people's celebration of the creature's death, her mate arrives to mourn over her body. He then proceeds to open her body cavity and retrieve the eggs that were growing there. He later kidnaps Rosalind, renames her Briar, and forces her to care for the dragonlings when they hatch. The princess comes to love the family of dragons, but not in a terribly sweet or saccharine way. The emotions in this book are written with true depth, making them so much more powerfully felt by the reader. They are not in any way trite or unnecessary.
The story does have a happy ending, of a sort, although this starts to seem impossible the closer you get to finishing the book. It is a truly lovely book, although the sadness in it does make it difficult to read. Rosalind is a triumphant character, as are the dragons she cares for, causing the reader to feel deeply invested in their fates.