by Heather Fawcett
Del Rey, 2023. 317 pages. Science Fiction
In the early 1900s, a curmudgeonly professor journeys to a small town to study faerie folklore, where she discovers dark Fae magic, friendship, and love. Cambridge professor Emily Wilde is good at many things: She is the foremost expert on dryadology, the study of faeries. She is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world's first encyclopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people. She could never make small talk at a party--much less get invited to one. And she prefers the company of her books, her dog Shadow, and the Fair Folk to that of friends or lovers. So, when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hransvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: the dashing and insufferably handsome Wendell Bambleby, who manages to charm the townsfolk, get in the middle of her research, and utterly confound and frustrate Emily. But as Emily gets closer and closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones--the most elusive of all faeries--lurking in the shadowy forest outside the town, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: Who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she'll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all--her own heart.
This was a delightful and sometimes eerily scary read. Faeries are not to be messed with unless you know what you are doing. And such a person is Emily Wilde. The story is in first person with footnotes just like those in any field study; they are little gems of information that will help the reader understand the import of the study. I can’t help but switch into “Emily speak” in describing this book. She has such a strong voice and is incurably flawed and clueless while being exceptionally intelligent. The world building is compelling. The faeries and locales are lushly described and begin to feel almost lyrical, like the Fae magic is taking over the story. It is so much fun!
If you like Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries, you might also like:
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