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ARC Review: Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Publication Date: January 10, 2023


A curmudgeonly professor journeys to a small town in the far north to study faerie folklore and discovers dark fae magic, friendship, and love, in this heartwarming and enchanting fantasy.

Cambridge professor Emily Wilde is good at many things: She is the foremost expert on the study of faeries. She is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encyclopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people. She could never make small talk at a party–or even get invited to one. And she prefers the company of her books, her dog, Shadow, and the Fair Folk to other people.

So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby, who manages to charm the townsfolk, get in the middle of Emily’s research, and utterly confound and frustrate her.

But as Emily gets closer and closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones–the most elusive of all faeries–lurking in the shadowy forest outside the town, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: Who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all–her own heart.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was absolutely delightful! I loved every second. One of my top reads of the year thus far and I suspect it will remain in the top 10 at least.

Emily Wilde is a gruff, curmudgeonly professor AND a woman of 30. She doesn’t know what to do with people or how to act around them (in fact, I am suspicious that she is autistic, because she displays a lot of the characteristics) and is constantly accidentally causing offense. However, she is a genius with faeries of all kinds and her expertise and ability to find the story that underlies a situation is unrivalled.

The book is written as her field notes, and her stubborn, perpetually annoyed (particularly at her colleague Bambleby, who attracts people as easily as she repels them) voice is so strong that it makes for incredibly enjoyable reading.

I am so glad there is going to be another book because I could not get enough of Emily and Bambleby. Their love story was so exactly the type I adore, full of exasperation and grudgingly fond insults and a deep, hidden loyalty.

I also adored how Emily found the people of Hrafnsvik (and especially her colleague Bambleby) sneaking into her heart and becoming her friends quite against her will. It perplexed her greatly throughout the story, because she is so determined to care only for her research, and she doesn’t know what to do with the affection she feels and is shown.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Del Rey for providing an early copy for review.

Favorite Quotes:

I managed to drag my trunk up the dock and through the village—few were about, being most likely in their fields or fishing boats, but those few stared at me as only rural villagers at the edge of the known world can stare at a stranger.

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

“Intellectual curiosity. I am an explorer, Wendell. I might call myself a scientist, but that is the heart of it. I wish to know the unknowable. To see what no mortal has seen, to—how does Lebel put it? To peel back the carpeting of the world and tumble into the stars.”

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

He smiled again. “You are not so terrible, Em. You merely need friends who are dragons like you.”

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

It is an intuition I have come to trust, for if you spend enough time studying the Folk, you become aware of how their behaviour follows the ancient warp and weft of stories, and to feel the way that pattern is unfolding before you. The third question is always the most important one.

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

I snorted. “One doesn’t need magic if one knows enough stories.”

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

He sighed. “Well, I don’t expect you to do anything with this information. I have grown rather used to pining, so it won’t put me out to keep at it, I suppose.”

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

“You’ve done nothing but talk at me since I told you I loved you.”

“Is that a problem?” For he hadn’t said it as if it were.

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

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