Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Short Story Review: One Solstice Night by Elora Bishop

One Solstice Night is a fantasy novella by Elora Bishop (a.k.a. Sarah Diemer, who appears to be experimenting with pseudoynms).

A sweet magical fantasy romance set in the same world as Cage the Darlings and Hallow's Eve, One Solstice Night follows the very mediocre young witch Isabella as she gets run out of yet another town and in desperation, takes a post at the distant and quiet village of Benevolence. Benevolence is a village of Changers, each person a different animal, and it's a happy, peaceful and delightful place. All they need Isabella for is a yearly spell at Solstice.

But there's one flaw. A white deer haunting the woods, outcast because of a treacherous ancestor. A white deer who is a Changer called Emily, lovely and lonely and fragile. Even Isabella's snarky talking cat, Alice, likes her. So Isabella reaches out, and Emily reaches back, and the village reacts with suspicion (led by the terribly stubborn and prejudiced Miss Cat), and they both flee together. Only to end up in even more trouble, save everyone and live happily ever after in each other's arms.

The characters were lively and believable, if occasionally fairly stock characterlike (especially the villagers). Isabella very, very strongly reminded me of the lazy witch who was more interested in dreaming about girls in Promises, Promises, but she was brave and compassionate. Emily was delightful, ethereal, and tragic, and increases the variety of lesbian shapechangers out there!

One Solstice Night is a Pagan holiday themed story, quite similar to its companion short story Hallow's Eve: A Halloween Fairy Tale (non-lesbian, about a young witch who is better at cupcakes than love spells). It's a good story, a lovely one, and just the right length for itself. It is also very easy to identify the writer! (If you liked her other stories, pick this one up as well). You could label this one young adult, based on the characters, the accessibility, and the acceptance, first love and mild becoming an adult theme, but it could just as easily be 'adult fairy tale'.

Have a quote, full of the author's trademark lyrical romantic phrasing.
...Isabella reached up, wrapped her hands about Emily's neck and kissed her.
Her lips were soft, like peach skin warmed in summer sunshine. This is the first thing that Isabella knew. The second was that Emily was kissing her back, the Changer's hands at her waist, holding her close and tight. She tasted of spice, of cinnamon and clove and coffee, and the tangle of her hair tickled Isabella's wrist, and the whole world was singing again, or perhaps it was the stars, or maybe it was the blood in their bodies, but Isabella was almost certain that something, somehow, somewhere was making music.

This is a terribly short review, mostly because there wasn't much to criticise and the gist of the story was easy to convey. It is in no way is a reflection of the quality of the story which is easy to read, well paced, and romantic. However, it is also quite short - the paperback is overpriced.

You can buy One Solstice Night as a Kindle eBook or paperback on 

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