Appalachian Elementals #2
by Jeanne G’Fellers
Centenary Rhodes is caught in a deal she didn’t make. Thanks to her eternal lover, Stowne’s, quick thinking, she’ll live forever, but there’s a hitch. Cent’s now fey, and three months out of the year she’ll live on the other side of Embreeville Mountain among the Hunter Fey, serving their king, Dane Gow.
As Cent begins wading through the anachronisms that come with being a Hunter, she learns that nothing is what it initially seems. Cent shares several past lives with Dane, who wants her back, and Stowne’s lied to Cent so many times that she’s having doubts about their marriage. To make matters worse, the past Hunter Kings are influencing Dane’s behavior, and the youngest Hunter, Brinn, might well be the most dangerous of them all.
It’s going to be a cold, dark spring, and Cent needs to unite both sides of Embreeville mountain before her eternal life, her relationship with Dane, and her marriage to Stowne come permanently undone.
Another rich Contemporary Appalachian tale about fantastic people and the magic they possess, including LGBTQIA+ characters Human and otherwise.
Without looking at my review of Cleaning House (book one), I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but I really appreciate the glimpse into a culture that is at once distinct from my own and yet eerily familiar. My heritage is English with a hefty dose of Scots and Irish, and so much of the language, customs – right down to particular slang words – have carried over the centuries in both British English and Appalachian culture. The author’s use of old Scots’ dialect is both entertaining and used very effectively as a narrative device – a visible tracker for subtle changes in characters. At one point, I spotted the shift in language and found I was muttering oh god, oh god at my screen because the other characters were still in the dark. I do so love being in the know as a reader. 🙂
Aside from the wickedly biker-goth setting, there is, of course, Cent’s life journey and the situation imposed on her at the end of the first book. While most readers could probably follow what’s happening in Keeping House without reading Cleaning House, the connections and dynamics between the characters, human, elemental and otherwise, are all well established, so I wouldn’t recommend jumping straight into book two. Why would you want to when this is such a grand story?
What I loved most of all about this book is how it took my stance on all of the different characters (i.e. I loved Stowne and Rayne, wasn’t sure about Pyre and hated Dane with a passion) and kicked the feet out from under it. So, yes, Dane is much more than I credited her with, and Stowne and Rayne, well, it’s complicated.
A great ensemble cast, atmospheric scenery and some quite terrifying moments all culminate in a great read (and a fair bit of thumb-twiddling while I await book three). – Author Debbie McGowan
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It’s the second entry in the Appalachian Elementals series and it’s just as good as the first one. The lives of our characters have become more complicated, making this book even more intriguing. Past lives, folk tales, herbal healing and the supernatural all combine into a wonderful story.
Since this is the second book in the series, I would definitely recommend that you read the first one or you could become completely lost. It’s a complex world that the author’s built and, in order to appreciate this book, reading the first one is the way to go.
I voluntarily read an Advance Reader Copy of this terrific book and can heartily recommend it to anyone who loves a good book and doesn’t mind reading the prior one first. – Amazon Review
It’s a little hard to know where to begin because the story, like its predecessor, is so full of cultural and spiritual meaning. That’s probably the thing I like most, getting a taste of life in the story’s setting. Everything is interconnected, a bit like linking points on a map with string.
There’s a lot going on in here: a sort of ghost story, if you squint; the unsettling and ruffled feathers of changing relationships; an epic battle with evil; and a heartwarming family tale, if an unconventional one. What’s not to love with all that happening?
As always, though, it’s the characters who bring everything to life (and I’d argue that this specific part of Appalachia is a character all its own). After the first novel, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Dane, the Hunter King. I ended up loving her. She’s a handful, and I think I’d be intimidated if I met her in person. And man, does her intuition really stick in Cent’s craw, which I also like. It’s fun to watch their interactions and the way they both open up to each other slowly.
Of course, I adore Cent in all her stubbornness and distrust. Once again, it’s her journey and growth we’re really following, and through her eyes, we see the same in others. Cent is literally an old soul, yet she still has so much to learn. Ultimately, her compassionate nature wins over, and she changes and expands as her world does.
There are a lot of new faces in here, but also plenty of familiar ones. This is a story with dozens of characters, and yet it somehow doesn’t ever feel like too many. Each one has an important part in the larger tapestry, and I felt as if they all had their own story they could tell. This world keeps expanding, like an entire galaxy contained within this small community. I hope it keeps going for a good long while.
I could go on forever, but what I really need is half a dozen people to sit around and talk about this with. This is a book, and a series, worth pondering the deeper themes: what does it mean to be a family? where will our spiritual paths lead us? are first impressions always right? how do we fight the demons of the past and live in the present?
Mostly, I just want everyone to have the chance to read these books. While I wait for others to catch up, I’ll be spending my time re-reading about Cent and company and immersing myself in their world. – Author A. M. Liebowitz