Mortal Follies by Alexis Hall is a novel written with a storytelling narrator. The author uses the narrator, who we conclude is a Puck, exiled from Oberon’s side and forced to pen novels in order to support himself. He told the story of Miss Mitchelmore, during the year 1814, who found herself the victim of a supernatural curse. He follows her and her friends as they discover the cause of this curse and all the experiences that befell her as a consequence. This is an LGBTQIAP novel.
I enjoyed this story. The narrative style was unusual, and I felt that it kept distance between myself as the reader and the characters of the novel. Nevertheless, it was a unique storytelling style that added to the overall story due to Puck’s inside information and personal commentary on the young woman’s experiences. Puck also extolled his own suffering as one who suddenly had to have money to pay for the things he had always taken for granted. The story described a world of gods, goddesses, fairies, and witches that existed alongside that of everyday mortals. In this world, the mortal characters had much more knowledge of the Otherworld than one would expect a story set in this time period to have. It seemed as if their normal everyday life of balls, picnics, and parties of the Season were interspersed with petitions to goddess’s to curse or remove curses. Characters who had chosen to dedicate themselves to the service of a goddess were in the realm of believable in their everyday world. Usually stories which tell of the Fae have most secondary characters being completely unaware of the existence of Otherworldly creatures. This book is also a love story, a coming old age story, and a coming out story all wrapped up into one. I think that the tale was very well told, but there remained a disconnect between myself and the main characters of the story, which I feel the narrator contributed to. I did enjoy the book and feel that it is well worth the read. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy LGBTQIAP fantasy or paranormal historical romance novels involving the world of the Fae as well as deities of a number of dead religions. I am voluntarily submitting this honest review after reading an advanced complementary copy of this book thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, Del Rey.
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