REVIEW: Fairyville by Emma Holly
Dear Ms. Holly:
Your new erotica release, Fairyville, is vintage Holly. The heroine, Zoe, is a woman with a big heart and an unsatisfied love life. The heroes, all three of them, have various obstacles to their ultimate happiness in love, none of which include a lack of available sexual opportunities. Through various mix and match combinations, true love is discovered and peace reigns supreme in Fairyville’s fictional kingdom. And I enjoyed every minute of it.
What's a bit different&emdash;and fun&emdash;about this latest offering is your foray into the "woo woo" (you even uses that term in the book) world of fairies, magic, crystals, and psychic mediums. And like most of the communities you create in your erotic fiction, Fairyville, Arizona is a relatively gentle one, quirky, a little off the grid, but a little idealized, as well. Zoe Clare has an attending retinue of genuine fairies, who embody pure joy and love and basically life to serve her, performing tasks like hair care (Zoe has that curly cue hair that requires the coordinated effort of fairy magic) and kitten care. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬ °migrés from Fairy, the supernatural land on the other side of Fairyville's falls, the little fairies escaped a tyrannical queen, mother of Zoe's lust object, Magnus Monroe.
Unbeknownst to Zoe, Magnus has a supernatural secret, as well; he has to win a new heart every month. Also unbeknownst to Zoe, Magnus is as smitten with her as she is with him, and has tried to restrain his naturally high libido by having a wild night with one woman a month to secure his safe stay in the human realm and work off his sexual hunger. Zoe is one of Magnus's many artistic protégées, and while friends, the relationship has never progressed because of the secret Magnus keeps. Every heart Magnus wins he must give back, and if he did win Zoe's heart, he couldn't bear to give it back after just one night.
What shakes up Magnus and Zoe's status quo friendship, however, is the arrival of Zoe's old boyfriend, investigators Alex Goodbody (and yes, that's an accurate description) and his business partner/recent sexual conquest, Bryan McCallum. Like Zoe, Bryan pined for Alex for a long time, and the old memories an unusual new case involving a woman who believes the Fairyville hospital where she gave birth switched her son with a child we immediately recognize as fairy. Having to go back to Fairyville, where Alex suffered a significant trauma, rattles Alex to the point where he finally responds to Bryan's feelings, initiating a new relationship and an excuse to return to Fairyville and Alex's unresolved feelings for Zoe.
What happens with and between these two couples in Fairyville is the obvious erotic content of the novel, and like all of your erotica that I've read, it's presented as good natured, earthy fun, with the characters taking such good care of each other, emotionally and physically, that the multiple pairings seem quite natural and emotionally positive for all involved. And in the meantime there is a plot involving Magnus's mother, who has been looking for Magnus in the human realm for years, and presents some danger to Magnus and Zoe. Then there is the investigative mission that Alex and Bryan are on, as well as the difficult emotional issues presented in Bryan's fear that Alex will not be able to return his deep feelings and Alex's need to find some sort of resolution with Zoe, to whom he's still clearly attached emotionally. All of the characters have a certain amount of maturing to do, and they each undertake a journey toward more uniform happiness and satisfaction, not just sexually but emotionally, as well. As Magnus reflects, "He couldn't remember what it was like to be completely satisfied, not just physically but in his heart. He wanted to wake up soft instead of aching . . .–? While not necessarily able to achieve the uncomplicated joy of Zoe's tiny fairy caretakers, Fairyville's protagonists struggle toward a certain measure of soft satisfaction.
Two books ago, in Strange Attractions, you started exploring the notion of alternate realities, and that exploration continues that in Fairyville. Since my own spiritual beliefs are far more radical than anything presented in either book, I am fully on board with the blend of spiritual and physical realities, and the somewhat New Agey sensibility that emerges in Fairyville. There is a great gentleness to the spirituality in this book, and even the unsavory forces seem far less evil than a lot of human badness can generate. I have wished for more substance from several of your latest books, and this one is no exception. However, despite the slight feel to Fairyville, it's clear that you are fond of your characters and respect them, as well. Fairyville, then, is a fond and clever adult fairy tale, one that won't necessary stick with a reader for long after she closes the book, but one that will give a reader cause to appreciate the virtues of a little good natured magic, for both the body and the spirit. B+