A Faerie Story (ParisDude’s Review)


Title: A Faerie Story
Author: Barbara Elsborg
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: November 1st, 2019
Genre(s): Paranormal, Magic, MMM
Page Count: 254
Reviewed by: ParisDude
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.9 stars out of 5

Blurb:

A faerie forced to flee his homeland
Kaegan lives in fear of his vicious twin brother. Tormented and abused, his only option is to escape to the one place he knows he’ll be safe: Inverkillen, a haven of magic, eternal Christmas where he has the chance to live the life he craves. But leaving Faerieland means taking a huge risk.

A man searching for a second chance
Aiden’s world is broken. Life is a dark and wretched place—until a chance encounter with Kaegan gives him hope for a brighter future. But fate has never been Aiden’s friend. No sooner has Kaegan come into his life, than he’s gone. Aiden is resigned to loneliness, but after he makes a startling discovery, he takes a decision that could be the biggest gamble of his life.

An anguished soul ready to end it all
Pascal is afraid to love. He’s determined not to risk his heart when he knows everything can be snatched away in a single moment. A fateful meeting leads to a night of enchantment and passion, leaving Pascal hungry to know more about the mysterious Kaegan. But when morning comes, Keagan is gone, leaving Pascal to follow the one clue he has to the beautiful stranger’s whereabouts.

Three men in search of a second chance, deep in a snowy wilderness. Will Christmas cast its magic to give them the greatest gift of all: their Happy Ever After?


I guess I’m a bit thick or maybe just in dire need of holidays (your pick), but after having read the blurb, it took me several chapters to realize this was an MMM romance (feel free to say, “Duh!”). Maybe I simply got drawn in by the promise of strange, imaginary worlds, faeries, and magic. I got this, alright, but with the additional MMM-thingy, something I’m not very keen on—more about this later, though. Because whatever the reasons for me to start reading this book, I enjoyed the journey Barbara Elsborg took me on.

The blurb, in fact, is quite self-explanatory. There are three main characters who take turns in narrating the story (for those who don’t like first-person-narrators: in third person): Kaegan, the young faerie from Faerieland; orphaned Aiden; and lonesome Pascal. The three have several things in common, mainly their being gay and a childhood traumatism they’re still struggling to cope with. If you’re looking for an anguish-free, untortured, nice ‘n’ smooth back-story there, don’t pick up this book! We get horrid child abuse by a druggie mother, an accident that almost costs one of the narrators and his whole family their lives, and an abusive, sly brother tormenting his twin. The author starts by giving us an insight into each one’s early years before starting the story proper (they’re all roughly in the late twenties/early thirties then).

I have to say, some of the described scenes are rather hard to bear with, but I’m no feeble-hearted reader and understood very well that the very bleakness of each narrator’s life is used (very efficiently) to create a stark contrast to what they’re all searching: love, happiness, as well as a place and one (or several) person(s) to call home. The town in a forlorn part of Scotland that Kaegan has magically created and where Christmas is always just around the corner symbolizes exactly that (and how well did I get this—yes, I’m a childlike sucker for anything Christmassy). And as little as I believe in MMM-stories that work out in real life, as much I was surprised to discover that in this novel, things fit and came together in a logical, plusible way. All three are simply made for each other, are meant to be, and are meant to be a threesome. IMO it takes a forceful, skilled writer to pull this through so that even sceptical me believes in it—better still: not only did I believe in their story, but I sincerely wished, no, I gagged for them three to get their well-deserved HEA. But the road till that ending is long and filled with heart-breaking twists and turns that made this an unputdownable book for me.

What was really odd is that Barbara Elsborg has found the magical means to stray from one of the major rules of creative writing: show, not tell (which goes to show that if you’re sure you can do it and create something powerful, you should always break the rules). For there was a lot of telling going on in this novel. And with the telling, by the telling, so many things were shown that it felt sometimes really akin to magic. The plot unravels at a steady pace, in solid, unpretentious, self-assured words that open three worlds to the reader, who cannot help but be sucked in (this reader, at least, couldn’t). A powerful book, in short; a book about love, about resilience, about the importance of never giving up, of never stopping to look for your Significant Other(s), and to accept it when you’ve found him/her/them, whatever he/she/they turn(s) out. Absolutely recommended read!

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of A Faerie Story provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.

Author

Dieter, born and raised in Austria, studied Political Sciences in Vienna in the early 90s. He's living in Paris, France, with his boyfriend and working as a graphic designer. In his spare time, he loves to write, read, cook, take photos, and travel as often as possible. He’s already published two short-story collections as well as four poetry collections. His first murder mystery novel “The Stuffed Coffin” featuring Damien Drechsler and the dashing Greek student Nikos has been released on Jan. 6, 2019, and is available in English, French, and German. By the way, the French version "Le cercueil farci" has won the prestigious Prix du roman gay 2019 in the category murder mystery. Dieter runs a gay book reviews site in French and is also writing reviews for Gay Book Reviews under the pseudonym of ParisDude.