"You'll be Charmed!"
Anyone who knows me, knows I never go anywhere without a
book. I left for vacation well fortified for the long
plane flights and the lengthy car rides between points in
our itinerary. Imagine my surprise and delight when I
turned to the Prologue of the soon to be released 'Prince
of Charming' and read................
'Your charm won't help you this time, Robin Goodfellow.
You'll remain trapped for the rest of eternity.' Titania
finished her spell, her arms slicing the air for emphasis'.
'Puck as a romantic hero?', you ask incredulously. Well I
can only say that I've seen Robin played by everyone from a
sprightly red headed eighth grader, more suited to play
Peter Pan, to the balding middle-aged gent of the movie
version, so I was totally open to Ms. Fox's wonderfully
handsome and charming fellow, after all as Robin himself
puts it -- Shakespeare did not treat him kindly.
'What did the Fairy Queen do to Robin?', you ask. Ah well,
I'm getting there but first you must meet our heroine, Kate
Kate had been the only child of two loving parents, until
her mother died of a lengthy illness which absorbed all of
the family's funds. Kate's father too was a man of charm
and the fairy sight, or so he said. Shortly thereafter,
leaving Kate in the care of a kindly family friend, he
ventures forth in hopes of tricking the fae out of their
gold, to settle their debts. Kate had once been a great
believer in magic, but as the years pass and her father
doesn't return she loses faith in it. Worse yet she's lost
faith in herself.
Twelve years have past. Kate has grown into a woman, but
not the kind that men favor. She is too tall, and big boned
like her father. Her only relationship had ended in insult.
She has determined that her father must indeed be dead, for
the alternative hurts too much. Could it be that he too was
ashamed of her?
Kate's guardian has recently passed away without leaving a
will. Kate is stunned for the woman had loved her, and Kate
had cared for her during her illness. The woman had
promised that Kate would always be taken care of and Kate
had assumed that she would inherit the Victorian house in
which she'd been raised. She is shocked to learn that her
home is now the possession of the woman's next of kin. The
man wants her out, pronto.
With a mere week to find the will, Kate wastes no time
searching, but to no avail. Her last thought is the
library. She is determined to search through every book if
necessary. There an old portrait catches her eye. The
subject is handsome, so beautiful in fact with his curly
dark hair and mischievous eyes that he had spoiled Kate for
any man of substance. She had spent her childhood
confessing her sorrows to that image. On the slim chance
of finding the will behind it, she turns the portrait and
finds not the will but he words .... ROBIN GOODFELLOW. As
she reads them she wonders aloud if that is the name of the
man in the picture -- and she gets an answer!
Behind her as real as she is stands a man who is the very
image of the man in the portrait. In fact he claims that he
is, which of course is impossible for the painting is
centuries old. Kate concludes he must be a thief, but soon
is convinced otherwise.
Though Robin's gift is charm, it is nothing he's done which
has incurred Titania's wrath, it is that he is. Fairies are
immortal and as such have no need for children to carry on
their legacy. In order to have one, a fairy must mate with
a mortal. King Oberon had had the desire to taste
fatherhood and an affection for a certain mortal woman as
well. They had had a son, and he was born immortal. That in
itself might have angered Titania if she actually loved
Oberon, but it is greed that is her motivation. Oberon had
given the woman one of Titania's crowns, her plainest,
thinking it would not be missed. Oberon did not know his
Oberon had given his son the task of monitoring the deeds
of the mortals, rewarding good and punishing evil.
But Robin grew weary of the mortal world. His mother had
grown old and died, as eventually did all whom he
befriended. He could charm any woman into his bed, but
cared for none of them. He wanted to go home to the fairy
realm, he wanted to be with his father. It was a grave
mistake, for Titania discovered him first. Now the fae can
not destroy one another, however perhaps Robin's fate was
even worse. She had cast him into a painting from which he
could watch the world but not live in it. He would stay
there for eternity.
Oberon is not without love for his son and though he can
not break the spell, he could alter it a bit. He scrawls
Robin's name behind the portrait. Only one with the fairy
sight can read the words, and saying them aloud free Robin.
Hundreds of years had past, with Robin trapped within,
until Kate had freed him.
Robin is grateful, but also a bit sad. He had watched Kate
grow from a little girl to a beautiful woman. He had
listened to her confessions, of sorrow and joy. For the
first time he really cared about someone. For the first
time he felt that he had a friend. But she is mortal, and
he knows it is best to leave now, before either one of them
should get hurt. Therein lies the rub. No longer tied to
the painting, Robin finds that the spell isn't really
broken. Now he is tied to Kate! Each time he ventures
beyond a certain distance, he finds himself back by her
side. This little provision lends itself to incredible
humor throughout the tale as one would imagine!
Kate had no choice but to accept the magic. Having no
choice but to stick together they promise to help each
other. Kate will help Robin find a way to free himself.
Robin will help Kate search for the will. In no time at
all a different kind of magic takes hold, but Robin is
reluctant to act on it. Kate has been his only friend, more
precious to him than fairy gold and he knows that he will
have to leave her or watch her grow old while he stays
forever young. Kate loves Robin as well, he had given her
back her confidence in herself, his gift of charm extends
to all, he has a way with children and she knows he'd make
a wonderful father. But he is immortal and she knows it
cannot be. She had promised to find a way back to the fairy
realm to gain freedom for her fairy prince and she will
not let him down. That's not going to be easy though, for
Titania has gotten wind of Oberon's little escape clause
and she isn't done with Robin. Not by a long shot. The
trouble has only begun!
Ms. Fox has penned a delightful tale full of warmth, wit,
and passion. This story was great fun. Robin was indeed
charming, who wouldn't love a man who could see one's
imperfections as assets? Beside being gorgeous and
passionate, he is kind and loyal to a fault. Kate's
metamorphosis was an inspiration. Is it any wonder that the
base word of lovely is love? In Robin's eyes and through
his love she becomes the beautiful woman on the outside,
that she had always been on the inside. Karen threw in a
little surprise at the end that put the couple's happiness
over the top. Nope, I'm not telling. You'll just have to
read the book. And if you like it as much as I did, get
psyched because there will be another! This time the fairy
will be a female in search of a mortal prince.
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted July 19, 2001