Waltham is a fledgling wizard, just having finished his training. Or most of it, at least. He knows he isn’t a great wizard yet, but he grew up with little money and less attention and Waltham is ready to move on from his training. He knows the only way he can be a great wizard is if he gets enough money to buy a new hat and better potions and all the things he needs to be powerful. So he traps a leprechaun named Mindy, leaving him entitled to her pot of gold. If only she would just get on with giving it to him already. Instead, Mindy has led Waltham on an endless trek, culminating at a dilapidated castle.
Waltham is all set to charge ahead to find his gold in the castle when they encounter Ian, the castle owner and a mini-giant (aka a galoot). Unfortunately, Waltham accidentally casts a spell that makes Ian “impossibly fond” of him. While Waltham’s instinct is to get the gold and go, Mindy reminds him that he really needs to remove the spell from Ian. In fact, she makes her further help conditional on Waltham taking off Ian’s curse. The problem is that accidentally setting the spell is a lot easier than removing it and gathering all the ingredients (particularly with Waltham’s non-existent funds) is going to take some time.
Ian seems to adore Waltham, having confidence in Waltham he rarely has in himself. He sees the best in Waltham, even when Waltham is being rude and prickly and his generally antisocial self. Waltham can’t help but feel good around Ian, knowing that someone sees him as worthy and likable, even as he realizes it is due to the spell. Their only real point of disagreement is about Mindy; Waltham is determined to win her gold, and Ian reminds him that while it may be legal to take it, it still isn’t morally right.
The longer the men spend together, the more Waltham begins to care about Ian as much as Ian seems to care for him. He even beginning to tolerate Mindy a bit. Waltham feels good around Ian, and begins to feel a new sense of confidence with his support. But as the time approaches to remove the spell, Waltham know he may lose the man he has grown to love.
Impossibly Fond is a fun, playful, and often silly story that I enjoyed. I think you have to be in the mood for this style of humor for this book to work for you, and I’ll admit, it took me a bit to really sink into it. The start was a little rough for me as Waltham isn’t the easiest guy to like, and the instant way Ian falls for him made it hard to connect with them as a couple for me. But Tanya Chris really develops this one nicely, highlighting the growth Waltham undergoes over the course of the book and really bringing it all together so well.
It is clear Waltham has had a tough road of it and he doesn’t see many options other than looking out for himself above all else. He is selfish and careless and not always particularly nice. But I felt like I could understand him, even if I didn’t always like his behavior. I loved the way that Ian’s support and confidence in Waltham gave him confidence in himself. It was like having someone believe in him helped Waltham realize the type of person he could be and gave him the determination to be his better self. It is really a lovely journey for him as a character and, while the guys fall pretty fast, they have a sweet connection that I enjoyed.
The book has a little “road trip” feel as the Ian, Waltham, and Mindy journey to get the supplies they need to break the curse. As I said, the story has a light, sometimes silly tone and the trio gets into a lot of crazy situations (harvesting grasshopper balls for a potion, for example). So though the timeline is short, the adventures bring a sense of bonding among the men (and all three characters) where I could believe in the connection, as well as Waltham’s personal growth. There is some nice world building here, giving us glimpses of various magical beings and the places they travel.
Overall, I found this one fun and cute. It is a very specific style of humor, as I said, but it worked for me and I enjoyed following along with Waltham and Ian’s romance and their adventures.