Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement.

mortal folliesWhen Maelys Mitchelmore’s dress starts unravelling of its own accord in the middle of a ball, she knows her reputation is about to be ruined. Her only chance at salvation is the kindness of a woman who, if gossip is to be believed, killed her entire family.

Paranormal romance has been rebranded. It’s now “romantasy” and it’s setting out to be the fantasy trend of 2023. The plots are wholeheartedly romances with, if not quite HEA, happy-for-now endings, and they’re falling in love in the path of mortal peril.

It was possible, of course, that Mr Clitherowe had taken the opportunity to direct some hex against her during their brief conversation, but unless “what an unusual hat” was an incantation of ancient and unknowable power, it seemed improbable.

In this case, the mortal peril is supplied by a curse. The unravelling dress is just the start of things. As more and more thins go wrong in Maelys’s life, she must look toward the supernatural for answers. In this world, the fae aren’t secret, in fact many ladies prefer fae-spun dresses with that little bit extra that human seamstresses just can’t deliver. But they aren’t in plain sight either, and Maelys must make a deal to save herself.

The high point of Mortal Follies was the witty narration by Robin, a fae who isn’t really part of the story. He can be quite ambivalent about the feelings of humans, but he likes collecting stories and he becomes quite involved in the tale of Maelys.

Since my exile in your world, I have experienced a thousand things more terrible. Only yesterday I was forced to stand in a queue. In a shop. It was dreadful.

I loved the Bath setting, what with this and Emma Newman’s books I’m convinced there is a significant fae population lurking there. The baths are a significant location in the story, and I could definitely believe a vengeful goddess lives there. For the most part, it was a fun and enjoyable romp.

However I did not click with the romance at all. I got the feeling it was trying a sapphic Pride & Prejudice approach, which entailed giving the Darcyesque Georgiana very little personality at all. I didn’t understand why Maelys fell for her except that she was rudely helpful. I don’t read much regency romance at all, so maybe that is considered enough for a lady to fall head over heels? It didn’t seem substantial enough for me, and her relationship with her best friend had more sparkle.

And because I wasn’t that into the romance side, the pace lagged a bit when there was a lull in the fantasy escapades.

Mortal Follies is published by Gollancz and will be available in hardback, ebook and audiobook editions from 6th June 2023. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

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