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As Lydia Browne:

Snowflake Wishes

 
Flowers by Moonlight by Lynn Bailey
(Jove, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-515-12448-6
****
Writing as Lynn Bailey, Cynthia Bailey-Pratt, who also writes as Lydia Browne, has penned an imaginative and intelligent fantasy romance. Flowers by Moonlight takes readers into medieval England and explores the land of the fairy folk, or "The People," as they are referred to in this tale.

Fighting for his king has left Conn scarred and blind. He's returned home to Hambry only to find that his father wants him to enter a monastery so that his younger brother can take Conn's place as the heir apparent.

Unwilling to give up his place or his rights to Hambry, Conn allows his horse to take him away to a place where he can rest and think. Conn ends up sleeping on the land of the fairies. The King of The People has no love for mortals; in fact, he despises them. But his daughter, Sira, doesn't despise the "Sons of Men" and she wants to make sure that Conn is safely returned to his home.

However, Conn doesn't want help getting home; he refuses Sira's assistance, even though the sound of her voice thrills him and makes him feel alive. When he finally wakes, Conn finds himself back home in his mother's garden and he wonders if his meeting with Sira was just a dream, or some kind of witchcraft, or the first stage of madness.

Sira knows she ought to stay away from mortals: for if a mortal touches a fairy, he can make her his slave. But she finds she cannot stay away from Conn or his problems. For the first time, Sira questions her life and her world a world where there is no place for Conn.

Flowers By Moonlight is a smart, fast-paced fantasy romance. The main characters and the secondary characters are well developed and there's lots of story to this story. My only quibble is that although there are many interesting conflicts and problems for Conn and Sira to resolve, the natural tension inherent in these concerns is never allowed to build. Conn and Sira's problems are solved just a little too quickly and just a little too easily.

The best, and most impressive, aspects of Flowers By Moonlight are the many, many wonderfully imaginative and descriptive passages regarding the world of the fairies. The author's command and use of language is extraordinary. The land and the life of The People make for a completely different and fascinating world. Readers are transported into another existence which is, after all, what fantasy is (or should be) all about.

--Judith Flavell


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