A curmudgeonly professor journeys to a small town in the far north to study faerie folklore and discovers dark fae magic, friendship, and love, in this heartwarming and enchanting fantasy.

Cambridge professor Emily Wilde is good at many things: She is the foremost expert on the study of faeries. She is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encyclopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people. She could never make small talk at a party–or even get invited to one. And she prefers the company of her books, her dog, Shadow, and the Fair Folk to other people.

So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby, who manages to charm the townsfolk, get in the middle of Emily’s research, and utterly confound and frustrate her.

But as Emily gets closer and closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones–the most elusive of all faeries–lurking in the shadowy forest outside the town, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: Who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all–her own heart.


5 stars

OK I am already in love with that word “curmudgeonly” used in the synopsis LOL

I had a great time reading this cozy fantasy. Well I’d say smart cozy fantasy.

The plot in a nutshell: Emily, brilliant professor from Cambridge arrives in the village of Hrafnsvik to learn more about the Hidden Ones. Meant to do it alone with her dog Shadow, she’ll be unpleasantly surprised to see her academic rival, Wendell Bambelby strutt to the village soon after,

Emily is not your usual heroine. Not only is she curmudgeonly but she also despise emotions. She is socially awkward and don’t try to hug her, she wouldn’t know what to do with you.

Intellectually brilliant, totally dedicated to her research on faeries, she’ll never encumber herself with niceties. In a crowded pub, leave her alone at her table with her notebook. Don’t try to engage!

She was a great heroine! And she had quite a growth! When she arrived in the village, she was determined to be an observer only, the perfect scholar. She didn’t want to embellish her draft of a cottage nor make friends with the villagers. She didn’t see any use in caring. Or rather… she is socially inept and is very aware of her limitation.

But the more the story progressed and the more faeries hurt the villagers, the more Emily rescued them! For research purpose only of course. Or so she thought LOL

The contrast with Wendell Bambleby, social butterfly and solar personality, professional dazzler was nearly comical!

They couldn’t be more opposite.

Emily is rigorous and thorough in her research, nearly arid in her prose while Wendell is approximative and flamboyant, never hesitating to fabricate is data.

I had so much fun seeing them soon becoming a team that worked surprisingly well! Wendell’s warmth thawed Emily’s heart and made her realize that there was more than books and studies in life.

Last but not least, I also adored the lore, the side characters, Shadow Emily’s dog and the world building!

This book was a cozy fantasy, grumpy sunshine all rolled into one. It was charming, whimsical, smart and enthralled me from the very first page.

Now I want the sequel!

Thanks for reading!


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