Title: The Enchanted
Author: Cecilia Dart-Thornton
Series: Bitterbynde Companion
In: Legends of Australian Fantasy (Jack Dann & Jonathan Strahan)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Fae, Romance
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘I wish that your coming-of-age would befall tomorrow, Mistress Blythe,’ said Hawkmoor as they strolled.
In the enchanted and magical world of Erith, danger comes to Kelmscott Hall as the trows seek to claim Mazarine’s baby. But it is Thrimby, the mysterious servant of the master of Kelmscott who will save them all from the most dangerous of bargains …
Stories that feature the fae are always something that I enjoy sinking my teeth into, and this three-part journey was one such beautifully constructed novella. I also really enjoyed that, for me at least, there were three distinct parts of this story, each with its own mini beginning, middle and end. It, would, theoretically make it easier to put the story down after each point of conflict passed. It didn’t. But, maybe for one less geeky it would.
Starting with Miss Blythe’s quiet brownie friend, her trials and romance are impacted by the presence of the fae throughout her battles against her guardian. The fact that she falls for the man’s son just seems to compound the difficulties that she is forced to face in an attempt to find her happily ever after. Yet, as with all stories, it is her position as an heiress that seems to get her (and her loved ones) in the most trouble. Alright, so some of the story line is a little predictable, but it still has this beauty and sweetness to it that made me fall in love within the first few pages.
After our sweet, and somewhat unassuming chief protagonist loses the man she loves, is forced into an unwanted confrontation with her guardian and leaves her temporary home, she has a whole new set of circumstances that become difficult to face. Again, the grey ones are lingering on the edges, but it is her strength and willingness to see justice that helps to carry her through the second trial of the novella. And, of course, when all seems lost, her love comes to the rescue. At the risk of his own demise.
It is in the third bit of this story that Dart-Thornton really plucks at my heart strings. There is an overarching feeling of the happy ending, everything seems right, and everyone is alive and healthy. And then a baby is due to arrive and the guardian again rears his ugly head. Now is the part of the story that really draws upon fae folklore, and it is the humorous, intriguing way in which this is dealt with that has stuck with me, even days after I finished this story.
I can’t recommend this novella enough – it combines folklore, love and tragedy in one neat package. And although some of it is a little predictable, it is still incredibly enjoyable.
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