This was a book I thought I was going to love. Normally I’m a huge Alexis Hall fan. But I think the narration choice may have been too much for me? Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
It is the year 1814 and life for a young lady of good breeding has many difficulties. There are balls to attend, fashions to follow, marriages to consider and, of course, the tiny complication of existing in a world swarming with fairy spirits, interfering deities, and actual straight-up sorcerers.
Miss Maelys Mitchelmore finds her entry into high society hindered by an irritating curse. It begins innocuously enough with her dress slowly unmaking itself over the course of an evening at a high-profile ball, a scandal she narrowly manages to escape.
However, as the curse progresses to more fatal proportions, Miss Mitchelmore must seek out aid, even if it means mixing with undesirable company. And there are few less desirable than Lady Georgianna Landrake—a brooding, alluring young woman sardonically nicknamed “the Duke of Annadale”—who may or may not have murdered her own father and brothers to inherit their fortune. If one is to believe the gossip, she might be some kind of malign enchantress. Then again, a malign enchantress might be exactly what Miss Mitchelmore needs.
With the Duke’s help, Miss Mitchelmore delves into a world of angry gods and vindictive magic, keen to unmask the perpetrator of these otherworldly attacks. But Miss Mitchelmore’s reputation is not the only thing at risk in spending time with her new ally. For the rumoured witch has her own secrets that may prove dangerous to Miss Mitchelmore’s heart—not to mention her life.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I will always read queer romances set in historical fiction settings. That’s just the perfect combinations of interests for me. Let me just say that I deeply enjoyed the setting. The ways these side characters merely reinforce the decorum standards, balls and picnics, and more. Plus there are some truly wonderful side characters and one that I think would be my best friend. In terms of the main character, I did enjoy the ways she believes in people, has to team up with the rumored to be witch, and accepts it all in stride.
But the narration choice of being this outside pixie narrator made Mortal Follies feel distant. It was like being in an omniscient narrator position except the pixie had a lot of thoughts. Normally I’d be a fan and the pixie breaks the fourth wall in a funny and clever way – not to mention they are super wry – but it just meant there was this added layer of distance between us and the characters. And while I thought I could get behind that, I never did.
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It meant that while I enjoyed these elements, the humor especially, I never got fully immersed because it felt like looking at Mortal Follies through two layers of glass. If you love the idea of a queer historical fiction supernatural romance, then definitely still pick this one up. I don’t know of any others like it. Or if you specifically love this narration style. But for me and my reading style, I couldn’t get around it.