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Maythorn's Wish by Emily Larkin

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Maythorn's Wish (novella)
The Fey Quartet #1

Emily Larkin
Historical Romance/Fantasy
Published in 2016

H/h - Ren Blacksmith/Maythorn "Widow Miller"
Setting: Around the time of Norman invasion on England.

Read in September, 2016.
My rating:

                                                  [spoiler alert]

Maythorn’s Wish is the beginning of an exciting new historical romance series by author Emily Larkin. This short “prologue” to the Baleful Godmothers series, and book 1 of The Fey Quartet, was really sweet and charming.

As stated above, The Fey Quartet portrays the backdrop telling the tales of the ancestors of the heroines of The Baleful Godmothers series, the first scheduled to be published in November 2016. I wasn’t sure how I should proceed until Ms. Larkin explained it to me. Even though it’s not necessary, I’d highly recommend that you start with the prologues as each story clarifies how a bloodline of humans, particularly the females, came to be in possession of a special ability of their own.

The whole series is set in Dapple Vale, a place hidden from the human eyes, though the ones that dwell there are humans...

Dapple Vale is surrounded by woods and hills and forests. It seemed to me like one of those magical places that no trouble, manmade or otherwise, can touch. Each little village of Dapple Vale has been blessed thus. There was, of course, a reason behind it. Dapple Vale bordered with the Fey world by a thinnest of thin, very invisible, line. Yes, the story takes place at a time when Fey rumored to have walked the earth. Or when the Norman’s invaded England.

There were some pros and cons of living in a magical, evergreen place such as Dapple Vale. The pros were many but the cons weren’t something you could ignore. For one, the humans had to be ever cautious of their more cruel and capricious neighbors, making sure they never ever cross that line that could only be felt by a tingling on the back of one’s neck while walking the forest. Never communicate with a Fey, never ever make a bargain of any sort, if you could help it that is. They were not just cruel, they enjoyed playing with their human toys. Who knew what they’d make out of you, a chicken or a donkey! You simply never give them that chance! Any fool who dared venturing into their world had never returned. It’s something like Dapple Vale itself. Anyone who ventured out of this place could never return, unless that person had a token from the valley itself to show him the way back. It seemed that the whole valley, because of their contact with the Fey world, was quite invisible from the human world.

Maythorn came to a little village of Dapple Valley called Dapple Bend from the human world when she married the young and handsome miller’s son Gyles. She herself was a young, blushing bride of 15 who had left her family behind, never to ever set eyes on them again. Remember, this is a novella, so don’t expect to find much background. The narration had a very fairytale-ish vibe; you’ll know why I say it when you read the story. The characters had surnames based on one of their characteristics or on the trade they were involved in. :D

But Maythorn’s luck ran out when she gave birth to her first daughter. It was then the abuse started raining down on her. Gyles began to drink more and more, and with the birth of each daughter, the intensity of his abuse grew. All he wanted was a son, which Maythorn couldn’t provide him with. Instead she had 3 daughters; Ivy, Hazel and Larkspur. And right after young Larkspurs’s birth, tragedy struck. A very drunk Gyles beat the living daylights out of not only Maythorn, but their little daughter Ivy, then went and drowned himself in the nearby pond. Oh great! -_-  I had a tough time reading those pages and wanted to kill that SOB myself, but he saved me from that...... Good riddance!

Moving on...

They survived their ordeals, but barely. Maythorn was severely injured and disfigured, while little Ivy had a permanently lame leg from her injury. Maythorn was the most beautiful and kind woman of that little village, now she had nothing but her daughters as Gyles left them practically penniless. But the village as a whole didn’t forget her sweet nature and her benevolence to them, so everyone came forward to help the family recover and settle down. They also ensured that Maythorn had something to do to earn money. That they could grow their own vegetables, raise their own chickens and have a goat or cow to milk.

21 long years have passed since then. Maythorn, now known as Widow Miller, had been… content with her life, such as it was. Her daughters have grown up to be the most beautiful girls of the village, and they’re the apples of their mother’s eyes. Well, one eye. :( Now she’s hoping that they’d marry soon. One of the best candidates was the village blacksmith, Ren, who, in Maythorn’s opinion, was the kindest man all of Dapple Bend, if not the valley itself. However, she harbored a secret of her own too. Maythorn had loved Ren for a long time, but she knew nothing would ever come of it, hence kept it hidden away in most secret recess of her heart. Ren is not only slightly younger than her, he was also, at first, married. But even after he became a widower some years ago, Maythorn knew he’d never see her that way. Truth be told, Maythorn’s face was grotesquely disfigured from the beating. She also had a broken hip, and a broken wrist, where the hand withered and crooked bend. :( I was simply horrified and utterly sad at her plight. She was so young when it happened, she didn’t deserve a life like this. So I was hoping that Ren, in all his kindness, would notice her feelings and maybe, just maybe, return in too.

But fate soon took over that part as Maythorn gets entangled with the Fey quite unwittingly soon after. A fairy baby leads her to its mother. It was Maythorn’s kindness that saved the baby’s life and she decides to ask for her wishes to be granted in exchange. All she could think was of a better life without her physical hindrances, the pain she has to suffer every single day just to move. And definitely, an improvement of the quality of Ivy’s life too. Her daughter would dance and walk and laugh more if she her leg is made whole once again. She’d marry and have her own family. Maythorn also hoped if Ren could see her as she used to be before the tragedy... *sigh*

Frankly, even if it was dangerous I couldn’t blame Maythorn for making those wishes. She deserved a better life, with the man she had loved for so long.

The Fey mother grants her initial wish by making Maythorn better once again, but the other wishes were held back until the girls’ birthdays. Maythorn knew very well she would be in trouble if the words get out, plus if she ever gives the Fey an upper hand. Things can happen and she needs to step wisely as to how to best handle this incident. But how will she ever manage to keep a change so big secret without lying to the people she loved? To the whole village? How can she even tell Ren about this monumental change in her life? What if he turns his back on her? There were a lot to ponder upon...............

Maythorn’s Wish ends in a HEA so don’t worry! The next installments will tell the tales of Ivy, Hazel and Larkspur. I can’t wait to find out what happens to Hazel in Hazel’s Promise! 4 stars.

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I love to read in my spare time and do reviews the books I read. My blog Punya Reviews just turned 6 in 2017 and still going strong. I love music and traveling. Sometimes, I wish I could live inside a book, having my own HEA. :)
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