It’s hard for a brown-skinned girl to search the Depression-era back lots of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for a gateway to fairyland and harder still if both the Seelie and Unseelie courts are after her.
It’s 1935, and Callie LeRoux has journeyed to Hollywood from Slow Run, Kan., in search of her white human mother and black fairy father. A fairy kidnap attempt is foiled by none other than the famous Renaissance man Paul Robeson, a human who seems impervious to fairy magic. But Callie ignores Mr. Robeson, choosing instead the friendship of a Shirley Temple–like child star with golden curls, perky tam-o’-shanter and bewitched caretakers. Callie just wants to find her parents and get the heck out of Dodge, but with a prophecy hanging over her head, it won’t be easy. Her father’s people, the brown-skinned fairies of the Midnight Throne, want her as much as the fair-skinned power brokers of the Shining Court. Real-life historical figures and cultural norms flavor this coming-of-age tale set in the golden age of Hollywood with period gravitas, but they never overwhelm the adventure or diminish the Seelie and Unseelie courts to an allegory for racism.
In this sparkling sequel to Dust Girl (2012), showcasing Callie’s cleverness versus the mystical glitterati, neither Callie’s persistence nor the trilogy’s pace flags. (Fantasy. 12-14)