Fairies, absinthe, and ancient secrets provide an adventurous backdrop for romance in this historical-fantasy romance.
In 1882, there are rumors in Ireland of fairies returning to make their claim on the country’s lands. After years of banishment, they’ve found a way to bridge the worlds between human and fairy, and the key might lie in absinthe. Englishwoman Ada Quicksilver is in Ireland to study this connection of absinthe and fairies. At a pub that specializes in the bright green drink, Ada encounters Edward Donoghue, Earl of Meath, a most peculiar man whose sleepwalking is only helped by consumption of absinthe. He takes an immediate interest in Ada’s research, offering to escort her to a famed fairy portal. As Edward joins Ada in her investigations, their connection grows deeper; their attraction is more than what it seems. The environment is lush and imaginative, with everyone appearing to hide their own seductive, dark secrets. It’s a world that comes alive with mysterious, foggy moors, dangerous peat bogs, and gorgeous green hills. Ada is an admirably independent heroine, taking her research quite seriously despite the handsome distraction of Edward. Though Edward plays a bigger role in the history of fairies and humans, he’s also the more confusing of the two main characters, with a backstory that is, at times, difficult to follow. Dedicated romance readers might feel slightly robbed given the slow burn between the hero and heroine and the greater attention paid to establishing historic Ireland and its relationship to the fairy world. However, the Irish mythology and folklore are where Fisher’s (Before She Wakes, 2016, etc.) writing shines. Despite its flaws, this is an ambitious series opener that mostly delivers.
Imaginative, original, and worth a try.