Author: Harper Fox
Cover Artist: unknown
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 12/17/2015
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Gay Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal
Gideon’s managed to swing a few festive days off, and he and Lee are looking forward to celebrating their little girl’s first birthday. But duty calls, and Gideon is too good an officer to ignore the summons. He finds himself on the streets of Penzance, helping police the midwinter Montol celebrations.
It’s his third winter solstice with Lee, and disturbance, danger and magic are in the air. His daughter is beginning to show some remarkable gifts, and not all the family can cope with them. As the Montol festivities reach their fiery heights, will Lee and Gideon find a way to keep those they love best on the right side of the solstice gate?
I understand totally that I am biased. I am surely one of Harper Fox’s number one fans. But, with that grain of salt in mind, here are my thoughts on her latest installment of the continuing saga of Locryn Tayack and Gideon Frayne, clairvoyant and copper in the Cornish village of Dark.
The first thing I need to note is that Fox is without question (bias aside) a superb writer by any definition of the word. Reading her books is simply a joy. She is elegant and literate and – trickiest of all to pull off—effortless. Secondly, she manages to pack so much content into the novella that one only notices the short format because it ends too soon. I never feel cheated by the relatively diminutive scale of the books in this series. While each episode stands alone, one admits that by this time it is best if you’ve read some of the others so that you know who Lee Tyack and Gid Frayne are; as well as Zeke, Gid’s dour elder brother, and the various denizens of Dark whose lives Gideon and Lee have touched – if not saved – over the previous volumes.
Here we find the Solstice approaching, and with it Tamsyn Tyack-Frayne’s first birthday. If the trauma around Tamsie’s adoption has settled down, the lingering pain and fear have not entirely dissipated. But normality, insofar as it is possible in a two-dad household where both fathers seem to have some sort of paranormal connection to each other and the spirit world in general, has returned.
Then Tamsyn surprises her dads with a little unanticipated skill set and knocks their world off its axis once again.
Gideon is assigned, by being volunteered in spite of his well-earned holiday, to help monitor the Montol celebration on the Solstice over in Penzance (a place I only know through Gilbert & Sullivan). This is the nominal centerpiece of the action in the story, but it is only the hub, around which various cataclysmic events swirl; events related to Ezekiel’s ongoing relationship with Eleanor, grandma Frayne, Tamsyn’s surprises, and Gideon’s own embrace of his inner being.
As always, Lee and Gideon are portrayed with such vibrant clarity that it is like visiting old friends. There is no couple anywhere in m/m literature whom I love as much as I love these men. Fox shows us their individual personalities and their relationship with such vivid intimacy (and, I’ll note, there is no onscreen sex in this one at all) that they simply become real to me.
The pace of the novella is quick and steady. The imagery is gorgeous, the characters are memorable and quirky, and the emotional impact is startling. In Harper Fox’s world, where being gay in the straight world is a given and not a problem, these men are just allowed to be themselves, which is quite complicated enough, thank you.
I’ll end with a lovely citation, which will only make sense when you read this book:
“Then, in an alcove, protected on both sides by her wondering parents, she lived the world into the warm space between them, tipped it correctly on its axis, and set it to spin.”
Happy New Year to you all.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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