I should start by saying I’m not a huge fan of Faerie. Beautiful but cruel aren’t characteristics I’m interested in, and I find most books about the fae boring or distasteful. Emily’s fairies, though, are fascinating, intriguing, fun—while still often being beautiful and cruel, and fitting in perfectly with familiar legends and lore.
Most of the book’s appeal is down to Emily herself, the “curmudgeonly professor” with her single-minded pursuit of fairy scholarship. I love the idea of “dryadology”! Practical, intelligent, introverted and awkward around people but confident and clever while studying the Fair Folk “in the field,” Emily narrates the story in hilariously academic prose, complete with footnotes. Her ostensibly objective, multisyllabic discourse does nothing to hide her feelings from the reader, however, and she charmed me as completely as she ultimately charms every other character (and, yes, the metaphor of enchantment is intentional!)
Wendell I will not spoil for you; you’ll just have to meet him yourself when he swans in with his minions in tow and upends Emily’s painstaking plans.
I get a grin on my face just thinking about these two and their exasperation with each other!
All the characters jump off the page; every one of the villagers a distinct individual. And the wintry northern landscape is a character in its own right. I am quite convinced that Hrafnsvik is a real place and the Hidden Folk really do live in those mountains.
There's also a great dog!
A satisfying conclusion, with the promise of another book to come. I am hooked on Emily and can’t wait to see what other surprises she has up her sleeve!
Heather Fawcett is Canadian, by the way: I'm happy to claim her as a British Columbian!
Don't forget to tell me about your favourite dragon in the comments on my previous post, and you could win a free e-book. (Contest open until June 30, 2023)