Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil By Charlotte Henley Babb

Here’s a bit of news you want to hear. Someone has discovered that a lot of readers of “Young Adult” fantasy are actually adults! Well, who’da thought, hey? So the word is out. Are you an adult who likes a quick read, a light, escapist fantasy once in a while? Someone who has lost the dewy-eyed optimism of your youth, and has developed a sharper sense of humour over the years? Well, it seems you’ve got a lot of friends out there. And writers who are writing fantasy just for you.

I’m one of those writers, so when I discovered Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil I was keen to review it.

I was not disappointed.

Maven is a 40-something unemployed teacher brought to the desperation of living in her van. She spent her last $5 on gas to get to this job interview, and now the tank is empty. How many of us have hit a point so low that…

“She couldn’t go on like this. Something had to happen. Today.”

Well, what happens is an offer she can’t afford to refuse, not matter how strange it sounds. The job? Fairy Godmother, of course.

And of course the job isn’t as simple as it looks because as we have all learned, they never are. It seems the Veil that keeps Faery and the Mundane apart is failing, and the one remaining Fairy Godmother, Fiona, isn’t sure how to keep it up. Real people –especially one Silicon Jones, who works his magic through computers and excess alcohol – keep popping back and forth, leaving the Veil in tatters. Worse yet, the prophecies are divided on whether Maven will save the Veil or destroy it completely.

The problem is that Fiona is a lousy teacher and Maven is a stubborn student who insists on thinking for herself. As a result, every wish she grants seems to mess up. And even some she doesn’t grant. In a setting where “R & R” means “Restraint and Re-education,” This doesn’t bode well for the neophyte fairy godmother.

Add to this mix Tulip, the changeling whose deepest wish is to become a fairy godmother in spite of her youth and inexperience. Also Belle, like a huge Samoan princess, presiding over the bar at the Twilight Lounge, a sentient building that changes to suit its customers. Include a few straight-off-the-fairytale-scrapheap “clients”, and you have a great story with wonderful characters.

This is a story about wanting change and holding firmly to the past. About being careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. About seeing what you expect to see, and missing everything else. All those wonderful things that mature adults know about and love to watch fictional characters struggle with.

I wouldn’t call this book belly-laugh funny. More light-hearted, witty, and creative. At the same time, it poses challenges to our minds and our hearts. It provokes us to ask ourselves, “What would you wish for?” knowing that we, as mature adults, will be forced to think about the consequences.

This is the book that dares to ask the question, “In fairy tales, why do older women never get a wish?”

Sounds like real life.  You’ll just have to read the book to get the answer.

About the Author: Gordon Long

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