Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 1-59998-565-9
Fantasy Romance, 2007
In Dayna Hart’s Go Between, our heroine Claire is having a most interesting 25th birthday. Her estranged husband sends her the divorce papers (they have been separated for a year prior to this) and her sister sends her a “Squashed Faery” book. No, this is not a book of pornographic gay photographs. I’ll let Ms Hart explain what it is herself:
Each page featured a different illustration of a faery, supposedly pressed between the pages of the book like a flower. She traced the gold-embossed lettering of the title with one finger, a smile tilting the corners of her mouth. Warmth that had nothing to do with alcohol spread through her body. She and Marielle had gotten a similar book when they were kids, from some aunt they hardly knew. They’d spent hours staring at the pictures, giggling at the expressions on the tiny faces. With every turn of the page they would try to convince each other they’d seen one move before the giggles would set in again.
Claire is on her way to getting smashed, but it isn’t just the alcohol that is making her see things when one of the faeries in the book starts trying to get out of the page and asks her to help him.
It turns out that Dell of the Dale has been trapped in the book for “a couple of decades”. As Dell is giving her a crash course on the gateway or Curtain between the human and faerie world as well as a peek of what’s barely concealed behind the leaf thing he’s wearing at his crotch, goblins come out of nowhere and start attacking Claire’s house. The party has just started, whee!
You know, I have to laugh when I finish Go Between. I don’t know what to expect at first, but being the optimist that I am, I won’t be surprised to find a cheesy half-baked story full of silly sex and a barely-there plot. Instead, I find an unexpectedly delightful story that is whimsical and at places exciting without being too absurd. The main characters aren’t the most developed but given the length of the story, they are pretty fine in their own right. Claire is an adorable heroine as she manages to be convey just the right amount of curiosity and fascination with Dell and Dell’s world without coming off like an addled nitwit or something.
This is a most charming kind of unexpected surprise.