I’ve read enough fantasy, and met enough sneaky fairies to know that one should never strike a bargain with the Fae. Something always goes wrong and you end up with a pink hare instead of pink hair, or something much worse.
The residents of Prospect Hill don’t have any such qualms. After a rare successful fairy bargain, they end up acres of land for the cost of a piece of fabric. Similar trades continue throughout the generations, and now we find sisters Alaine and Delphine making bargains for higher status, gender equality, and in Delphine’s case, a husband.
But when Delphine’s husband turns out to be abusive, and his family indifferent, Delphine takes extreme measures to rectify her situation. Delphine is predictably fooled by the Fae, and loses something incredibly valuable.
This is a great, engaging story, with amazing characters. I loved getting to know Alaine, Delphine, and their family, and finding out how the Fae had played a huge part in their lives. I also enjoyed the fairy lure, which is somehow both logical and completely nonsensical at the same time.
One of the things I loved about this book is how it ties the realities of female oppression in the early 20th century with the more magical aspects. Alaine meets a lot of opposition while trying to establish herself as a successful business woman, and Delphine is consumed by shame at the prospect of divorce. Their belief that they will get more help from the supernatural world than their fellow humans speaks volumes.
I love my dark and weird fiction, and I feel like this book had the potential to be a lot darker. Don’t get me wrong, there were some really harrowing moments, but given how tricky Fae Folk can be, things could have been a lot worse for Delphine et al.
The Fairy Bargains of Prospect Hill is a very enjoyable read, with notes of fantasy and feminism. It is released on March 28th, 2023.
Thanks to Redhook books for the ARC.
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