"A neat anthology of loosely connected Faery tales"
This is an older one from 1998, but I just bought it. It's
a wonderful anthology with four stories by Jo Beverly,
Karen Harbaugh, Mary Jo Putney, and Barbara Samuel.
Each of the stories offers a romance involving mortals and
Faeries. "The Lord of Elphindale" by Jo Beverley is
about a Faery court that's fading because the mortal Lord
of the land has left and ignored his responsibilities to
the Faery. They create a half Faery half mortal woman to
seduce, marry and bear his children to bring him home. She
wants his love, but on her own terms. Thus a battle of
wills follows, between a hero intent on marrying another
and her determined to marry him herself. I liked this
story the least because yeah, they live HEA, but only after
the Faery manipulate the heck out of them. I have nothing
against it technically. It was well told with decent
characters for a short story. I just don't like users
coming out happy in the end, even though the H/H did too.
Karen Harbaugh's tale "The Faery Braid" is an adult
re-telling of Rapunzel. It was beautifully told, and
explained a lot that in the myth doesn't make that much
sense. A Faery woman ruins a family so that they must sell
their youngest daughter Rachel to her. She plans on
turning the girl into a Faery in order to use her as a
brood mare (the Faery don't have a lot of children). She
isolates her on the fringe of Faery and begins weaving the
altering magic into Rachel's hair. Unfortunately for the
Faery, a passing magician has taught Rachel songs that will
call her own true love, a former rake scarred on the
outside and in who craves the healing Rachel offers. This
was a good one.
Barbara Samuel's story was also very good. In "The Love
Talker" the Queen of Faery has condemned one of her
court to a realm where no one can touch or see him, and
only a few can hear. She did this because he would
ruthlessly seduce mortal maidens then leave them to pine
away to death. He's only left his flute, and he's condemned
to stay this way until he experiences true love.
Unfortunately, his flute playing has the same affect on the
maidens that hear it, and Moira's cousin is one of them.
She recognizes the signs and seeks him out. She can hear
him and they begin meeting and talking, and he slowly
becomes visible to her. This is the ultimate reformed rake
story. Another reason I liked it was that the heroine
wasn't all that beautiful, she just had a kind and generous
Mary Jo Putney's story was "Dangerous Gifts. Leah
is a plain girl with a gift for music. The Faery Lord
Ranulph hears her and is determined to have her for his
own. He offers her beauty and a chance to experience true
love in return for something that he'll ask for at a later
date. She goes to London and is now the beauty of the
season, but finds that it's not exactly what she wanted,
until she meets Duncan, a hero just returned from the war.
They fall in love and Ranulph shows up to claim his end of
the bargain. What will her choices be and what will she
choose? This is a story about what beauty really is.
The thing that was really neat about the anthology was that
each author used bits of the other's stories in theirs.
The Love Talker is the magician in the Faery Braid. The
heroine from The Lord of Elphindale shows up at a ball that
Leah attends in Dangerous gifts. And they managed to
create a Faery that remained constant through the whole
anthology. I really liked this book.
Shelly Raines / February, 2000
Copyright © 2000
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted March 24, 2002