Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries

Books on Tape. (Emily Wilde, Bk. 1). Jan. 2023. 12:06 hrs. ISBN 9780593633151. $95. FANTASY
Epistolary novels often make the best audiobooks, and Fawcett’s (The School Between Winter and Fairyland) adult fiction debut is no exception. Dr. Emily Wilde sets off for the Scandinavian country of Ljosland in search of faeries, documenting her travels in her journal. Fawcett gives the titular Emily Wilde a strong voice and curmudgeonly characteristics. She’s the fantasy equivalent of Eleanor Oliphant or Ove—awkward and seemingly rude, but with a heart of gold that even she doesn’t know exists. Narrator Ell Potter provides Emily with a slightly fussy, sometimes bewildered, but generally exacting, intelligent, and knowledgeable voice that seems just right. Michael Dodds has less narration time and appears later in the book. This might have been a jarring transition, but Dodds perfectly matches Wilde’s impressions and descriptions, and his voice and mannerisms come as no surprise at all. The stakes are high, the romance with exasperating colleague Wendell Bambleby is full of banter, and the worldbuilding is sure to bring joy to any lover of folk tales.
VERDICT This is The Love Story of Missy Carmichael with fairies and snow. A sure win for believers in the value of story.
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