Rowena Miller’s The Fairy Bargains of Prospect Hill (Redhook/Orbit, publication date 3/28/2023) is a bit The Once and Future Witches meets Practical Magic, but with fae instead of witches. It’s a cozy fantasy of sisters, mothers, and womanhood woven with brilliant bits of family, society, and legends. (A huge thanks to the publisher for this gifted advanced copy!)
The old families on Prospect Hill know a little bit about fairy bargains, and what the city folk seem as cooky superstition and insanity has kept Alaine and Delphine’s family orchard afloat. The sisters grew up learning of the bargains at their grandmother’s side, and they know and respect the power of the fae magic.
But the orchard needs more help than the well-settled bargains that have kept the family afloat for generations. Alaine starts to dabble into the magic, venturing into a type of fairy-magic her grandmother had warned her against. After each new bargain, she tells her husband that is it. But she calls on them time and time again. And when marriage to the affluent son of a prominent city family is not what Delphine imagined, and Delphine finds herself in an abusive relationship, the sisters find themselves back at the tree, making frantic bargains and forgetting to heed their grandmother’s advice about paying careful attention to the words of the bargain.
The novel starts off at a dull and sluggish pace, finally picking up speed almost halfway through. Once you get to that part, you won’t be able to put it down. Slog through – it’s worth it. The Fairy Bargains of Prospect Hill is a comforting and familiar type of magic that drapes around you like the arms of a friend or a soft blanket. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself dropping a shiny bauble or a brilliant scrap of cloth for the magical folk to find and bring you favor.
Read this book.