Brightfall by Jaime Lee Moyer #Brightfall

Posted On 5 September 2019

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Today I’m joining the blog tour for Jaime Lee Moyer’s Brightfall.  This is a story that picks up a few years after Robin and his Merry Men and Maid Marian had their ‘happily ever after’.

Take a look at the other bloggers taking part on the banner below and try and pay them a visit too.

Brightfall

Brightfall returns us to the land of Sherwood Forest, to Marian, the Merry Men and Robin Hood.  But this is a Sherwood and a Marian that is different than the one we are familiar with.  Sherwood is home to the fae, Marian has magic of her own and Robin is not the man we once knew.

Brightfall is a story about Marian and the life she leads after all the events and goings on of Robin and his Merry Men.  Robin has left Marian and his family – for reasons that will unfold as the story progresses and Marian lives a quiet life in the shelter of Sherwood with her two children.  Unfortunately Marian’s tentative happiness is about to be broken when she receives a visit from Friar Tuck.  It seems that the Merry Men are dying, one by one, in unusual circumstances and the latest victim is a cruel blow for Marian.  Tuck suspects some sort of curse, the victims are all linked with Robin potentially the key.  Marian is asked to use her magic to try and uncover the start of the curse and so embarks on a journey of self discovery with Robin as her reluctant companion.

This is an unusual story and was different than what I originally expected.  I knew that this would be a mystery but I hadn’t quite expected to find an enchanted land of the fae.  I don’t make any secret of the fact that I love stories of the fae and so I was downright pleased when they made an appearance here.  That being said I do have slightly mixed feelings and it’s taken me a while to compose my thoughts.

On the one hand I love the story telling.  Jaime Lee Moyer has a lovely style of writing that I just found so easy to absorb.  Her descriptions are magical and she simply has a way of spinning a tale that is quite captivating.  I really enjoyed Marian, reading about her magic and her life since Robin left.  She’s found happiness unexpectedly and she is fiercely protective of her children.  When it comes to Robin – well, he’s a puzzle.  He abandoned Marian and the children a number of years ago taking refuge in a monastery to atone for his sins.  I think Robin is one of a couple of areas of this story that I struggled a little with at first and that kept me from becoming fully engaged.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not his change in character – which has become sullen and almost sulky – but I think I would have liked a bit more background about what led to the change.  There is an explanation but it felt a little glossed over and was too quickly discovered and then tucked away.  The other thing that I had a slight issue with was the meandering feel that the story has.  Marian goes from place to place, usually following a trail of breadcrumbs between victims until setting out on a different path.  I loved the journey but at the same time it started to feel a little like going round in circles, always one step behind.

Okay, so slight criticisms out of the way and, as mentioned above, having had time to ruminate I think the journey here was more one of self discovery.  For both Marian and Robin.  A coming to terms with past events and past mistakes.  Of course there’s the riddle of the murders to be solved and alongside that a feeling of not all being well in the fae court which explains their involvement in trying to solve the mystery but for me this felt like a book of exploration and discovery and the circuitous journey in between was an essential part of that.

This is a story that picks up after the ‘and they all lived happily ever after’ and it’s a really interesting idea – because don’t you ever wonder if they truly did live happily ever after?  Here we get to see that sometimes things don’t always go to plan and people change along the way, not always in the best ways.  That sounds quite serious in some ways doesn’t it and yet at the same time I think the author manages to turn Marian’s story into much more of a fairytale than I ever expected even with this sober slice of reality.

Overall this was an incredibly easy book to read, made so by the beautiful writing.  I had a couple of issues as mentioned above but they didn’t spoil the read for me at all in fact they gave me a few things to think about after I put the book down.  Even now, I’m not totally sure about the inclusion of the fae – and yet at the same time I loved their presence, I just wanted to see more of their slippery self-centred trickiness.  But, all things being equal this is primarily Marian’s story and in that respect this story is a great success.  Marian is the lovely character that I expected, she’s compassionate and warm, loving and at the same time tough and able.  I loved that she had magic and I loved the slight back stories to some of the other characters such as Little John.  This is a story that looks at the lore of the past, when people were much more superstitious and when the ‘others’ were something to be avoided at all costs and I love the way that those old tales are woven into this old favourite filling it with new possibility.

This isn’t really a tale of the Merry Men, it’s not all fun and japes, but it does take the legend into a new direction that was unexpectedly good to read.

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

Blog blast _ 5th September

August : My Month in Covers

Hi everyone, hope you’ve all had a lovely August with lots of sunshine and socialising.  I’ve had a good month in terms of reading.  I’ve been a bit more focused and although I do have a few reviews yet to schedule I’m kind of on track so all good.  Plus I’ve provided my feedback on the second month of SPFBO books and chosen two books to read fully one already reviewed here and another review to follow tomorrow).  My next batch of books will be highlighted on Monday.  So, here is my month in covers: