Gretchen McNeil Gushes About Blood and Flowers

Gretchen just posted this on her blog Seanchai and has graciously allowed me to cross-post it here. Thanks Gretchen.

It’s only appropriate that my first Bookanistas review would be a book (a) about the theater and (b) edited by my own beloved editor Kristin Daly Rens. As if that wasn’t enough, Penny Blubaugh has created a dark, tantalizing world where fey and human keep a tenuous cohabitation in the mortal world, and magic – and it’s drug-laced after effects – have built a wall of suspicion and mistrust between the two worlds.

Enter the Outlaw Puppet Theater, a group of faeries and humans creating fly-by-night productions using questionably legal fey magic. As a theater chick myself, I loved the Outlaws – Tonio and Max, the couple who founded the troupe, Nicholas the aspiring lawyer, Floss whose faerie magic makes the troupe something truly unique, Lucia the wounded spirit and Persia, our main character who has finally found a home with the Outlaws. A home she’s going to cling to til her dying breath. I loved this family, this motley crew, this collection from the Island of Misfit toys. They act like a family, with petty squabbles and fierce loyalty, and I found myself completely drawn into their world.

And just when things are starting to go well for the Outlaws – a successful show, press, fame, money – it all comes crashing down. In the face of arrest and prison time, the Outlaws flee to the one place they think they’ll be safe: Faerie.

Yeah, not so much.

There are a lot of Fey-Human stories on the market right now, but one of the things that attracted me to BLOOD & FLOWERS was Penny Blubaugh’s vision of this world. Her Faerie is a strange place. Dark and wondrous, eccentric and wild, familiar yet completely original. There’s a luscious quality to her characterization of that alternate world and the pace of the story really starts to roll once the Outlaws jump into their new world. I literally couldn’t put the book down.

BLOOD & FLOWERS also give you a great love story: the wounded Persia with all her baggage and fears of love and rejection, and the boy-next-door Nicholas. Watching them take almost painfully slow baby steps towards each other gave me that tantalizing sexual tension I love so much!

Don’t want to give too much away, but come March 1, I hope you all check out BLOOD & FLOWERS!

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