Published by Orbit on January 19th 2023
A curmudgeonly professor journeys to a small town in the far north to study faerie folklore and discovers dark fae magic, friendship, and love in the start of a heartwarming and enchanting new fantasy series.
Cambridge professor Emily Wilde is good at many things: She is the foremost expert on 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--or even get invited to one. And she prefers the company of her books, her dog, Shadow, and the Fair Folk to other people.
So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby, who manages to charm the townsfolk, get in the middle of Emily's research, and utterly confound and frustrate her.
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.
Thank you to Orbit and Nazia for giving an eArc in exchange for an honest review.
When I first read the blurb, I was immediately excited for more cozy fantasy. I’m not a huge fan of the Fae but this seemed like a good perspective. Emily knows faeries and their mischief so she’s not a naive woman trapped inside their magic. She’s aware and knows how to fight it. I also normally don’t like cold settings, but the author made sure to make the snow seem cozy warm instead of freezing cold. As if there’s magic at work.
Emily is working on the last section of her book and wants to find the Hidden Ones, way up north. And winter is just starting. She isn’t averse to harsh environments and is used to do everything herself. But she needs to learn how to ask for help. Only then will the villagers warm up to her. I love Emily and she goes through some amazing things during her months in Hrafnsvik.
Emily’s main task to get to know The Hidden Ones also leads to uncovering the village’s secrets. Being so close to where the Fae reside, they have had their share of bad luck and hauntings. But even those incidents seem weird. The tiny mysteries are a nice layer of extra depth. Not only to make the village seem more alive, but also set up the layer of intrigue that goes with a Fae book. Nothing is as it seems and there always seems to be more than you initially though.
The mystery, the exploration, Emily, her charming companion Wendell, and her dog Shadow, are all the perfect mix for a genuinely sweet fantasy book that’ll warm your heart on the coldest of days.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes the Fae or wants a cozy winter book. It’s the perfect book to snuggle up under a plaid with hot cocoa next to the fire. It’s an adorable story that’ll keep you reading.