Bedford’s follow-up to the terrific Winterwood is a plodding and meandering disappointment. While Bedford excels at grounding her fantasy with intricate historical detail, the story was dull and largely directionless. Although Corwen and Ross’ relationship deepens, and new and intriguing secondary characters are introduced, the story lurched awkwardly from the magical to the mundane. The plot stalled at key moments, undercutting suspense for the coming confrontation between the Fae and the Mysterium.
Unlicensed witch Rossalinde and her shapechanger lover Corwen are recalled into the Lady of the Forest’s service to round up dangerous magical creatures. But a family emergency interrupts Corwen and Ross’ quest. Corwen returns to Yorkshire to track down his missing brother and rescue the family mill from ruin, while Ross struggles to adopt lady-like behavior and hide her magical nature in order to win over Corwen’s formidable and disapproving mother. Later, Corwen and Ross are forced into unexpected alliances in their fight against the Mysterium. (DAW, Jan., 432 pp., $7.99)