Book Reviews

Book Review: Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries

By Heather Fawcett

Publication Date:  January 10, 2023

336 Pages

Emily Wilde is nearly done writing her Encyclopeadia of Faeries.  The tome represents a decade of meticulous research and should guarantee her tenure at Cambridge.  She only has one entry and research trip left – to find the Hidden Ones, a court of high fairies that travel with the winter in the far north.  But soon after she arrives, she’s followed by fellow researcher Wendell Bambleby.  He may be her only friend at Cambridge but he represents everything she’s not – good with people, sloppy, vain, and inexplicably the youngest tenured professor in her department.

Even though Emily grudgingly admits that Wendell gets along much better with the townspeople than she does, thus making life more pleasant, he confounds her both personally and professionally.  One thing she knows, she doesn’t want or need his assistance, but she’ll have to put up with him in order to finish her research.  But as Emily discovers more than she ever anticipated about the hidden Fae court, she realizes she needs Wendell’s help and friendship in ways she’d never imagined.

“Emily Wilde’s Encycolpaedia of Faeries” interpreted by Wombo Dream

This turned out to be an enchanting book, set at the turn of the 20th century in a world where fairies are accepted as being real.  (I find it odd that I haven’t seen magical realism tagged with this novel.)  However, it started out a bit slow and dry.  That is, perhaps, because Emily is a very dry person herself and the book is written in a journal format.  As far as characterization goes, it was brilliant but made for slow reading.  Granted, as the story unfolded I often forgot that I was reading a journal. 

However, once Wendell arrived and Emily had more interaction with the townspeople, becoming involved despite herself, the pacing picked up.  This is a quiet story, faery intrigue notwithstanding.  That’s fine, because I love a good, quiet, character-driven story and this one checked all the boxes for me.  I might have rated it slightly higher if Wendell had had a reason to write more than one journal entry because those pages literally jumped out of the book.  He was magnificently charming.  Still, it was an incredibly clever story and I found myself wondering more than once how the author came up with the details she used in the world of the Fae.  They were spectacular and meticulously crafted and have me looking forward to the next book in the series.

4/5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine for providing the ARC ebook.  I’ve left my review honestly and voluntarily.

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

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