by Patricia A. McKillip
Ace, 2006, ISBN 0-441-01366-X
A book review by Elisabeth Carey
This is McKillip’s first contemporary fantasy, although it’s related to the earlier Winter Rose, and tells the story of some of the descendants of Rois Melior and Corbet Lynn.
Sylvia Lynn reluctantly returns to her childhood home, Lynn Hall on the death of her grandfather, determined to avoid any entanglements with her family or the house, and to return as quickly as possible to her bookstore and the lover she refuses to marry. She’s horrified when she discovers her grandfather has made her the sole heir to Lynn Hall. Gradually we learn that this reluctance is due not to a dislike of the house or to strained relations with her relatives, but to her own dark secret. Lynn Hall’s purpose is to protect the world from incursions by the heartless hosts of Faerie—and Sylvia’s unknown father was of Faerie. She’s part of what Lynn Hall is supposed protect against, and the only way she can avoid being hated by her grandmother and the rest of the family and close friends, and possibly also being a danger to them, is to stay as far away as possible. But Great-Uncle Hurley is seeing fairies in the woods through his telescope, family friend Owen Avery has a fairy lover, cousin Tyler is stolen and replaced by a changeling, and Tyler’s girl friend’s father has discovered just enough that he thinks he can blackmail Gram and her coven into turning the Lynn Hall estate into an occult-themed theme park. Oh, and Gram’s grown careless with her stitching the last ten years or so, and Lynn Hall’s protections are breaking down. With disaster unfolding all around her, Sylvia has to confront her origins and her family if anything she cares about is going to survive.
Very enjoyable, and similar in feel to some of Nora Roberts’ magic-themed romances.