In this romantic tale, a champion of women’s empowerment stumbles on a hidden—and seemingly perfect—society.
Morgan Lua, head and founder of the Hope Foundation, has just arrived in New York City. Advocating for girls’ educational success, she’ll be a star attraction at the Girl’s Speak Out conference. The mayor introduces her to Gabriel Warren, head of the philanthropic group Ange’el and her host in New York. While Morgan is entranced by his gorgeous blue-green eyes, she also finds, in his suite at the Pierre Hotel, “no sign of vanity. Everything about him was practical and simple and yet of great quality and taste.” He invites her to a gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but the evening is interrupted by knife-wielding assailants. Gabriel subdues them, later revealing that he’s with the CIA, assigned to protect her from those aligned with the Men’s Rights Defense group and their speaker and presidential candidate, Walter Zanus. Further attacks lead Gabriel to take his protection of Morgan to the utmost—he brings her home to Ahe’ey, the secret realm from which he and his genetically enhanced brethren hail. In Ahe’ey, Morgan discovers stunning, nature-infused architecture and a functioning matriarchy. Yet the more she learns about Gabriel’s world, the less ideal it becomes. In her invigorating fantasy series opener, Le Fay (Ange’el, 2014) flaunts her progressive heart proudly, as when Morgan says citizens need to get “the best out of every young person regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or aptitude.” Zanus, meanwhile, stands in for the actual 45th president of the U.S. in saying of his “pure daughters” that if “they weren’t” mine, “I’d be dating them.” Le Fay also creates a robust mythology surrounding the four tribes of Ahe’ey: the Ange’el, the Ma’asai, the Yi’ingo, and the Hu’urei. Thirty years ago, civil war resulted in the sequestering of these bloodlines, and men are forbidden to rule. Gabriel realizes, however, that their “demise...started the day we designed an unequal society.” His and Morgan’s love proves transformative, and readers should delight in witnessing its repercussions.
A bracing mix of emotionally and intellectually honest fantasy.