So, first let me say that this is a beautiful book. (See pictures here, here, here, and here.) The title and Robin McKinley's name are both embossed. There are these beautiful bee decorations sprinkled throughout the book. Without the dustcover, the book is dark red with the author's name, the title and a bee in a circle embossed in gold on the spine. The type is nicely set and very readable.
I don't like summarizing plots, so I'll just give you the blurb from the website.
"As the newly appointed Chalice, Mirasol is the most important member of the Master’s Circle. It is her duty to bind the Circle, the land and its people together with their new Master. But the new Master of Willowlands is a Priest of Fire, only drawn back into the human world by the sudden death of his brother. No one knows if it is even possible for him to live amongst his people. Mirasol wants the Master to have his chance, but her only training is as a beekeeper. How can she help settle their demesne during these troubled times and bind it to a Priest of Fire, the touch of whose hand can burn human flesh to the bone?"
Mirasol as a character is a lot like the "typical" McKinley heroine (and hero)--well-intentioned and highly likable but also thrown into a difficult situation and struggling to do the right thing. The book gives very little background, only doling out information as we reach certain points in the story. I felt that this worked very well in giving a sense of Mirasol's overwhelment. (That should be a word but evidently it isn't.) I liked the fact that while she clearly Does Things, they don't need to be male things (much as I love, say, Hari).
This book has the richness of Sunshine but it is very clearly its own story. I found it extremely well-written and engaging and just...beautiful. Very satisfying. I hope some more people read it soon so I can compare notes!