Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
In the year 1721, living on the safe haven of Isla Sagrario amongst men who are free to love other men, Francis Holland has found a form of solace. Living a relatively safe life, especially compared to his former life as an indentured servant, Francis lives day to day working hard at the only inn on the island, longing for a love of his own.
When Francis is sent to clean up wreckage washed ashore, he discovers an anomaly – a merman, Wick. The merman is creature of mystery and legend. But something about the crimson-headed merman calls to Francis, and he feels the need to protect the fragile being. After spending a day with Wick, Francis returns him to the sea at nightfall.
As days turn into weeks, Francis misses Wick with every part of his being. When one night, Francis hears a call from the sea, he finds Wick waiting for him. But after weeks of spending time with the beautiful merman, coming to love Wick, he disappears taking Francis’s heart with him, yet again.
This sweet novella by Piper Vaughn was a joy to read. It is a precious tale of a lonely man who finds love in the most unexpected way. And of a creature known for its predatory and mysterious nature who finds love and strives in any way to keep it. It’s a very short and sweet read that I enjoyed immensely.
I’m always a fan of creativity, and this fairytale is just that. In Love Rising, Vaughn presents a story of fantasy, hope, love, and belonging. As a huge fan of most of the versions of The Little Mermaid, I’ve always had a thing for stories of the mer-sort. And this story is fascinating. The world that this author draws for readers is exciting and fun. I love the way she combines myth and legend with historical facts. It’s a vast and very promising world of which I hope to see more of in the future.
Each of the characters are interesting in their own right. I adore Francis – his loneliness and heart break. And even in his loneliness, he’s not the pathetic sort. He keeps hope that someday, somehow, someone will love him just as he is. And then there is Wick. We don’t get to know a lot about Wick. He remains a mystery even at the end of the book. The thing I like the most about Wick is his otherworldness. And make no mistake, he is definitely different, not of our world. He’s a creature in every sense of the word with his own mystique, his own etiquette, his own sort-of-language, his own feelings. Wick is an enigma, one I would like to explore further.
So I’ve said this story is short and sweet. It is. My one quibble is that it’s maybe a little too short. I was hoping something would come of Francis’s ex-master searching for him. [spoiler] I also wish there would have been more explanation as to how Wick changes for Francis. I think maybe the story would have benefited from Wick’s POV especially at the end of the story. Because one second he’s a merman learning the ways of humans, and the next moment he’s a two-legged land walker with no other explanation than “I changed.” But on the other hand, this story is very much a fairytale and leans towards the miraculous without explanation. [/spoiler]
In the end, what I like about this story far outweighs the little quibble. I adore a good fairytale, and this one is better than good. This novella is the second in the Isla Sagrario series. The first of which is a story included in the Dreamspinner anthology Cross Bones—Black John. And I’m definitely looking forward to what’s to come.
Cover Art: I am absolutely in love with this cover by Anne Cain. It’s gorgeous and encompasses the fantasy, beauty, and love of this sweet fairytale.