Published by Five Fathoms Press on February 2nd 2022
Also by this author: Snowspelled, Thornbound, Scales and Sensibility, Touchstones: A Collection
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
When a grumpy inventor meets her outrageous new neighbor in the big black castle down the road, more than one type of spark will fly!
Mia Brandt knows better than to ever again allow her true powers to be discovered. Ever since her last neighbors burned down her workshop in a night of terror and flame, she's been determined to stay solitary, safe, and - to all outside appearances - perfectly respectable...
But Leander Fabian, whose sinister castle looms over her cozy new cottage, has far more dangerous ideas in mind. When he persuades Mia into a reluctant alliance, she finds herself swept into an exhilarating world of midnight balls, interfering countesses, illicit opera house expeditions, necromantic duels, and a whole unnatural community of fellow magic-workers and outcasts, all of whom are facing a terrifying threat.
Luckily, Mia has unnatural powers of her own - but even her unique skills may not be enough to protect her new found family and help her resist the wickedly provoking neighbor who's seen through all of her shields from the beginning.
This novel-length collection includes all four stories and novellas originally published on Stephanie Burgis's Patreon in 2020-2021: Good Neighbors, Deadly Courtesies, Fine Deceptions, and Fierce Company.
Thank you to Stephanie Burgis for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The Good Neighbors first appeared on her Patreon. Join her dragons to read and vote for her next projects.
The Good Neighbors collection includes the four stories (Good Neighbors, Deadly Courtesies, Fine Deceptions, and Fierce Company) Stephanie released on her Patreon previously. It follows the adventures of Mia and Leander, two neighbours with very different professions but who understand each other’s struggles like no one else. It pulls them together as they fight against the ones who want them gone. The world she created doesn’t go much beyond their home town and the capital but these stories aren’t so much about the place as it is about the people. No matter how small each part is, everyone has a clear voice and role in the story.
If I had to vote for my favourite book couple of 2021, it would definitely be Mia and Leander (is that a spoiler? It’s marked romance for a reason…). He appreciates her for all that she is, and she sees who he truly is. They’re very much equals in every way possible and become even stronger when they band together. As allies, they fight against prejudice from multiple angles and break those views. Is feminist, inclusive, and celebrates differences between people. What’s not to love?
That’s why I’m giving Good Neighbors five stars. I love the stories and am sad there were only four. Maybe one day she will return to write more about these interesting characters. I highly recommend it to those who are looking for whimsical fantasy romance, those who want to laugh and sigh, who wanted to be enchanted and horrified (well, only for a second).