It is always bittersweet when it is time to bid farewell to an enjoyable series. Today, I have the final installment of The Fairwick Chronicles by Juliet Dark. This is a delightful trilogy set in the cozy, magical town of Fairwick. I adore books with small town settings, where everyone knows everyone. I find them charming and often wish I could visit. The characters are just as wonderful as the town. There are all types of magical, paranormal people living in Fairwick, and I loved the friendships and camaraderie. The romance in this book is realistic and it finally takes a direction that I think you will find pleasing. Finally, this book features a trip back in time to seventeenth Scotland where Callie must battle the plague and witch hunters! Are you interested yet? I am pleased to have Juliet (a.k.a. Carol Goodman) back on the blog today guest posting. Here is a bit more on Carol:
Carol Goodman (her pen name is Juliet Dark) is the author of eight novels including The Lake of Dead Languages and The Seduction of Water, which won the 2003 Hammett Prize, Demon Lover and Water Witch. Her novels have been translated into thirteen languages. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her family. Find Carol/Juliet on her website,Facebook and Goodreads.
Please welcome, Carol (Juliet):
Romancing the Stone
by Juliet Dark
In the third and last installment of the Fairwick Chronicles, THE ANGEL STONE, Callie McFay, half-witch/half-fey professor of folklore and Gothic literature, must find a mysterious talisman called the angel stone to banish the evil nephilim who have taken over her college campus. Her search takes her to 17th Century Scotland. Mine took me nearly as far.
I knew the angel stone would also lead Callie back to the beginning of her own story with the demon lover who falls in love with her in THE DEMON LOVER and with whom she falls in love, just a little too late, in THE WATER WITCH. I wanted a symbol of their star-crossed romantic history, something that both stood for the centuries of separation they had endured and was connected to the Scottish folklore that had inspired the books.
Fortunately, the Scots love stones. There’s the Stone of Destiny, an oblong block of red sandstone used for centuries in the coronation of Scots monarchs.
and a stone on the island of Orkney that’s said to go walking on New Year’s Eve. None of these, however, would be easy for Callie to carry around and they weren’t very … pretty.
Luckily I had given Callie an interesting piece of jewelry in THE WATER WITCH—I like jewelry so I like to give my characters some to wear—a silver pin called a Luckenbooth brooch. The Luckenbooth brooch is a traditional Scottish love token made of two interlocking hearts. They often have varied design elements—crowns, deer heads, thistles, precious stones … The thing about Callie’s brooch, which she inherited from her father, is that it’s been halved. When I looked at the Luckenbooth brooches I noticed that the space where the two hearts overlap is shaped like an upside down tear. That’s when I began to think of a stone that was tear shaped—formed of the tear of the last angel who sired the accursed race of nephilim—that had once been held by the two hearts of the Luckenbooth brooch. So not only would Callie have to find the angel stone, she’d have to find the other half of her brooch and join the two halves together in order to control the stone. Because the only power that can contain sorrow, in my experience, is love.
By the time I’d come up with all this I had fallen in love—with Scottish folklore, Scottish artifacts, and … well just about everything Scottish. It wasn’t until after I wrote the first draft of THE ANGEL STONE, though, that I was able to go to Scotland. I went to Edinburgh in the summer of 2011 and walked the Royal Mile where the Luckenbooth booths once stood, gazed at the Heart of Midlothian (a heart made out of paving stones that marks the door to the Old Tolbooth, a jail similar to the one in which Callie’s friends are held for witchcraft), and hiked up Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano that looms over the city. I loved Scotland so much that I came back the next spring and stayed in the Border Lands, the fairy-haunted landscape where Callie finds William Duffy, the young man abducted by the fairy queen who was destined to become her demon lover.
It’s a funny thing to follow the path of characters you’ve already written. While staying at Hawthornden Castle, a retreat for writers in the Border Country, I read over the galley proofs of THE ANGEL STONE. The story I had dreamed up in the course of three books had seemed fanciful while I was writing it, but no more magical than the places I found just outside my door at Hawthornden.
Walking in the woods I found a sign for place called “The Hewan Wood,” the site of a 1302 battle that was so bloody the place came to be known as “The Hewing.” Whenever I walked there I inevitably got lost. The place felt haunted.
When I visited the nearby town of Dalkeith and talked to the local history society, these pragmatic lovely men affirmed that the Hewan Wood was definitely haunted. I visited the ruins of a local castle said to be haunted by the ghost of a ghost dog and heard something very much like a baying hound in the wind whistling through my chimney at night. The landscape was every bit as haunted as the landscape I’d invented for Callie and William to walk through. My own search for the angel stone had brought me to a place where anything seemed possible—even for a heart broken for centuries to be whole again.
Thanks so much Carol for visiting Rainy Day Ramblings again. I am always delighted to host you! I hope all of you who love contemporary, magical, paranormal books will make some time for this delightful series! To get you started, I am pleased to be able to offer you a chance to win a copy of The Angel Stone courtesy of Ballantine Books. The cover is stunning and I think it will be a lovely book to feature on your bookcase. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter after reading the Contest Policies. Good Luck!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here is my review:
The Angel Stone(Fairwick Chronicles #3) by Juliet Dark
For Callie McFay, a half-witch/half-fey professor of folklore and Gothic literature, the fight to save the enchanted town of Fairwick, New York, is far from over. After a hostile takeover by the Grove—a sinister group of witches and their cohorts—many of the local fey have been banished or killed, including Callie’s one true love. And in place of the spirit of tolerance and harmony, the new administration at Fairwick College has fostered an air of danger and distrust.
With her unique magical abilities, Callie is the only one who can rescue her friends from exile and restore order to the school—a task that requires her to find the Angel Stone, a legendary talisman of immense power. Propelled on an extraordinary quest back to seventeenth-century Scotland, Callie risks her life to obtain the stone. Yet when she encounters a sexy incarnation of her lost love, she finds the greater risk is to her heart. As the fate of Fairwick hangs in the balance, Callie must make a wrenching choice: reclaim a chance for eternal passion or save everything she holds dear.
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Ballantine Books
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Since the door closed to Faerie, Callie has been struggling to pick up the pieces. She is desperately missing her incubus lover and all of her friends who were forced to leave the mortal realm. Her beloved Fairwick College is now in the hands of the despicable Duncan. The college is under tight control, and Callie is not happy with the new direction the school is headed. All the magic is being stamped out. Callie is determined to find a way to open another door into Faerie. She hopes that somehow she can find her lover and set things right, but the question is: where is the door?
What I Liked:
- It is always satisfying when you come to the end of a series and everything, for the most part, turns out as you hope. The Angel Stone is indeed a solid conclusion to a wonderful series. All the major plot lines are done up, the lingering questions are answered and all ends well for the characters you have come to love. I was happy with this final book, though, I am sad to bid farewell to these characters.
- I enjoyed the faster pace of this book compared to its predecessors. It is shorter, quicker and it doesn't have has many plot threads to keep straight. I liked that this was a quick read.
- Callie steps up, accepts her role as the doorkeeper and does what is necessary to ensure the safety of her students and her friends. She isn't second guessing herself and she has lost the wishy washy behavior. I liked the new, steadfast and courageous Callie.
- Even though I missed many of the characters from the other books, since they were banished to Faerie, I was pleased to see some of my favorites take on stronger roles. I have always liked Frank and Sohelia and they played major parts in this installment. Ralph the door mouse is back and as adorable as ever. I also enjoyed the return of Jen and Moondance and I was pleasantly surprised by Callie's Grandmother's role. There are also a couple of new introductions such as Nan and Uma whom I admired. This series has always had strong secondary characters and I love that. I even found an appreciation for the boys in the frat house.
- One of my favorite parts of the book was when Callie travels back in time to find the Angel Stone in order to defeat the nephilim. Her journey to Scotland takes her to the seventeenth century during the height of the witch hunts. Not only are there devastating and horrific witch hunts, but there is also the terrifying threat of the plague. It was a trying time, and I liked how Callie handled being thrust into this dangerous era. Her role in the past is significant, and I enjoyed watching her grow and help her new friends. I also liked seeing how the famous Stewart magical plaid came into being. It was a change of pace with this installment to see the historical blended with the modern, plus all the magic and paranormal entities that we all love.
- The romance takes a back seat in this one, and I liked that. I felt that it got to be a bit much in the first book. Here it is subtle and it isn't the main focus, and it finally moves into something that is genuine and believable. I can't go into too many details, but I will say this. No more demon lovers and all that, instead there is a real romance that starts with a sturdy friendship.
- The writing is once again lovely with plenty of detail and wonderful descriptions.
And The Not So Much:
- I missed the cozy feel of Fairwick. One of the main attractions to this series for me is the delightful town brimming with fun paranormal beings from witches, brownies, fey and more. Many of my favorite characters were missing this time around because they were forced to go behind the fairy door. Now the town is being taken over by the vile nephilim and it loses a lot of that sweet, charm that I love.
- Even though I was pleased with the final outcome, I was a bit disappointed that it was predictable. No big twists or surprises in this one.
- I adore Frank and Sohelia and I anxiously awaited the sparks between them to ignite, but I was left hanging. Why?
All in all, The Fairwick Chronicles has been an engaging and fun series that I am sad to see end. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in this cozy town brimming with magic. At least everything draws to a satisfying close, and I can bid goodbye without reservations. I am looking forward to seeing what Juliet Dark has in store next.
"A good teacher is a door to other worlds, she had written."
"I raised the sash and leaned my elbows on the sill to watch my students, their brightly hued jackets and sweaters like so many autumn leaves blown by the wind across the darkening campus."
"The wind summoned smelled like hot cocoa and fresh-baked apple pie, like fires burning in hearths and the sweater your mother wore on cold mornings to fetch the newspaper. It soughed through the trees with the creak of your front door opening and the whisper of slippered feet coming to greet you."
"When I thought about the tangle of time, my thoughts became as snarled as knotted yarn."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.