Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeriesby Heather Fawcett

My Five Word TL:DR Review: I need more of this

This book had me hook, line and sinker within virtually the first few pages.  I simply adored it and can’t wait for more.  I suspect that this will be firmly on a lot of ‘best of lists’ by the end of the year and in fact, because I managed to squeeze this in at the end of December it made my list for 2022.  I don’t know how much more gushing I can provide to tempt you to pick this up but if you enjoy scholarly style stories told in journal format by a slightly prickly professor with a love for anything fae set during the 1900s and with a mystery running through its core, not to mention a sprinkling of romance, delicious banter and chemistry and an adorable dog.  Here you go.  My work here is complete (nearly anyways).

I won’t go overboard with descriptions of the story itself serve to say we have a Cambridge Professor who has made it her ambition to pull together the most comprehensive encyclopedia of faeries.  Of course this requires extensive research and as the story begins Emily has arrived at the remote village of Hrafnsvik in Scandinavia.  The weather is inhospitable and the inhabitants of the small village only slightly warmer (as first appearances go).  Of course, Emily is something of a prickly pear herself with more interest in her studies that in people, feelings and polite conversation so she frequently misreads situations and blunders around creating awkward situations as she fails to think of social conventions and basic niceties.  Emily soon realises that she’s going to need to curry some favour if she’s to complete her research in time and what do you know, assistance arrives in the form of Wendell Bambleby, a colleague of Emilly’s who is perhaps her polar opposite.  Wendell has a languid charm, good looks and a certain form of arrogance that could be irritating I suppose but I found the unexpected friendship between the two worked really well.

So, what did I love about this?

Firstly, I love the period this is told in.  The writing lends itself really well and the two central characters, both respected scholars, have a somewhat elaborate way of talking and writing that I just loved.  I wouldn’t call this a stickler for historic detail in terms of dialogue and social conventions but for me this has all the charm without being too fussy – which is something I love.  And, I will say that the dialogue is just wonderful and amusing.

I’m a complete pushover when it comes to journal style narration.  I really liked Emily and it was a pleasure to read her thoughts.  She has a no nonsense approach to things, quite often walking into potentially difficult or threatening situations with quiet confidence.  I mentioned that she can be prickly but at the same time she doesn’t mean to give offence, it’s simply that she speaks her mind and sometimes others take umbridge and so reading her thoughts, as she jots the days events down, was so refreshing because quite often she’s baffled and trying to work out where she went wrong.

The plot is intriguing.  There’s plenty of fae shenanigans and in fact the story takes a very dramatic turn which I certainly didn’t foresee.  There’s plenty of tricksy behaviour and the author manages to instill darkness and threat with changelings and other fae who are yet more dangerous.

There is a romance – and not only does it not overwhelm the plot (which could be laid at Emily’s door as she is absolutely determined not to see Wendell in that light at all) but it’s delightful to read.

I really enjoyed Fawcett’s style.  This book is utterly charming, although it certainly has dark elements so be aware of that, but the writing is so good.  I got a fantastic feel for the place, the people and the fae and it all flowed so well with an easy pacing that made it impossible to stop reading.

I should probably leave it there.  I’ve no doubt gushed enough for one review.  Lets just this is an absolute gem of a book, Whimsical, witty and absolutely charming.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publishers, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 5 stars

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6 Responses to “Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeriesby Heather Fawcett”

  1. pagesandtea

    This sounds perfect. Journal style is something I’ll always be interested in reading, and the time period and fae element also appeal to me. Glad you enjoyed this 😀

  2. Jordyn @ Birdie's Book Nook

    I really really loved this one too. Something about the foil between Emily and Wendell just pushed all my buttons in a great way. Great review!!

  3. Tammy

    I agree, this was a delightful story. I adore Heather Fawcett’s writing, and the voices of Emily and Wendell made me fall in love with them😁

  4. Zezee

    The reviews I’ve read of this all make it sound appealing to me. I’m looking forward to trying it.

  5. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Doing a little dance! I loved just how perfectly balanced it was in romance, adventure, and whimsy. And faeries!

  6. Susy's Cozy World

    I just finished this book, and I agree with you on all the line!!
    Reading Emily thoughts is refreshing, Shadow is adorable and Em and Wendell are opposite but they make an amazing pair and complemented each other amazingly!

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