Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Mortal Follies

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Mortal Follies (2023) Alexis Hall

Mortal FolliesSet in alternate England in 1841.

This isn’t just a story of love and curses and betrayal and hot springs and sacrifices.

It’s a story of all those things told by the most unreliable of story tellers.

I am that knavish sprite that frights the maidens of the villagery. I am Oberon’s jester—was Oberon’s jester, that’s rather the issue. I am called hobgoblin by some and, contrary to what certain people might have told you, it is not a name I like and you shall not have good luck if you repeat it in my hearing.

I am also your narrator.

It is also a story full of snark and sarcasm.

“I am—you must surely realise—in a most compromising position and should any gentleman happen upon me in this state, I would be quite ruined.”

“Then you should have had the foresight to be born richer or more male.”

I like the main characters, Miss Mitchelmore, a great deal. She is charming and plucky and courageous as all good heroines should be.

But I liked her friend a tiny bit more.

“That’s what the man who sold it me said.”

“The man who sold it you?” Mr. Caesar had the hesitant tone of somebody asking a question to which he was quite certain he would not like the answer.

“Yes. I met him by the beach one day, and he swore to me that the dress he was carrying was woven of mermaids’ hair and I saw no reason to disbelieve him, so I bought it at once.”

This, reader, was very sensible, and is an example you should all follow.

“Lizzie,” Miss Mitchelmore exclaimed, “you cannot go around buying dresses from strange men you meet on the beach. What if he had been some kind of ruffian?”

“Then the selkies would have protected me.”

I’m not sure how one could manage an entire book of Miss Bickle, but as a side character she is a perfect delight, full of whimsy and joy and utmost faith in things that no one should trust.

And the narrator us perfect.

For some peculiar reason you mortals find real hearts disturbing rather than romantic. A double-standard I consider to be the rankest of hypocrisy.

The story is delightful and silly and precisely what I needed to pull me out of the doldrums.

Published by Del Rey. Cover design: Regina Flath Cover illustration: Radiante Mozzerelle

Rating: 9/10


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