Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A Midwinter Fantasy Review

A Midwinter Fantasy
-       Leanna Renee Hieber, L.J. Mc Donald, Helen Scott Taylor
Publisher: Dorchester Publishing
E-Arc with thanks to netgalley and Dorchester
You have ventured through the wardrobe and down the rabbit hole. You've beheld the Fading Lands and glimpsed the ivory spires of Minas Tirith. A star now rises over three other kingdoms, and over three heroic couples, all deep in winter's thrall.
 This book is an anthology with three different novellas all set around the time of Christmas or a mid-winter festival. As the stories are so different I’m going to review each one separately.

Visit Leanna Renee Hieber's Strangely Beautiful Victorian London, haunted though these soot-stained urban alleys may be, a lonely headmistress and a gallant vicar shall here reap the season's blessings.

This was my favourite story of the collection. It felt like reading a beautiful epilogue to the Strangely Beautiful series – a series I haven’t read but will definitely be looking into. Loosely based on A Christmas Carol, the headmistress and vicar who have given everything to help the world are finally rewarded. It was beautifully written with great characters and personalities shining through despite only a few pages to explore the world. I love the Victorian period and I am really intrigued to learn more about this world. 8 out of 10

Travel to Meridian and Sylph Valley, where immensely powerful creatures called battle sylphs vie for dominance here, while fulfilling every wish of their queens. But what woman shall rule the mighty Mace?

This is set in fantasy world where fae creatures called Sylph’s bond with human women to love and obey them. When Lily’s latest orphan runs away from home, she sends Mace to fetch him back and he ends up in the same town he passed through nineteen years ago and an old lover. The idea of Battle Sylphs is interesting and I’m not sure this story explores the idea completely, but this is mostly an exploration of family and rekindled love affair. However as I didn’t quite get the world I was a little underwhelmed. 7 out of 10.
Discover Helen Scott Taylor's land of The Magic Knot, in the frosty North, in the ice palace of Valhalla, Sonja's life depends upon unraveling the mystery of the Crystal Crib--and upon winning the love of Odin's son.
Sonja goes to Iceland in order to win some business for her Aunt’s travel company but ends up meeting the father she never knew and discovering the truth of her past – helped of course by the masculine, tall son of Odin. This was my least favourite story as I don’t to like the insta-love (always unrealistic!). So many ideas are squeezed into such a small number pages I felt nothing was explored in details but just briefly touched upon. This disappointed me as I love mythology stories and the norse gods are usually fascinating. Disappointing. 5 out of 10.
Overall there is a real mix of stories here from a Victorian ghost story, to fantasy action to paranormal romance with gods. Personally I think it’s worth it for the Strangely Beautiful tale alone
Recommended for fans of mammoth books of romance. 7 out of 10


  1. A mix and match. I like the idea. And the Strangely Beautiful tie in to A Christmas Carol sounds intriguing.

    Thanks for the review, Mel.

  2. I do like Gods, but instalove, sighs, sometimes it works, but can't they just see it for what it is, instalust, then love comes along

  3. Well, like all collected shorts, you love some and not so much others. This still sounds like a pretty good read. I really am curious about the SB tie in!

  4. Oh, now I think I need this one. I've never heard of it until now. :) Thank you!!!