Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes

The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, better known in Salem’s Fork, West Virginia as Dee, Lizzie, and Mare, have lived seemingly normal, to some extent boring, lives as of late. But normal is not easy for three witches, especially when they have little control over their powers; oldest sibling Dee is a shape-shifter with an affinity for animals and predisposition to change at inopportune moments, middle sister Lizzie has imperfect transmutative powers that more often than not result in bunnies and shoes, and youngest sister Mare is a telekinetic who sees little use for her power beyond parlor tricks and stocking shelves at Value Video!! Xantippe Fortune, their aunt and quintessential she-who-should-not-be-named witch, has concocted a multifaceted scheme to bring Dee, Lizzie, and Mare each “one true love,” and steal their powers for herself. Things backfire for Xan when instead of becoming blindly besotted with her soul mate, each woman learns the depth of not only her given power, but also of the ultimate power, love. A tightly woven tale, this is a pleasingly smooth collaboration from three well-known authors of the romance genre.

As previously noted in the post Mail Call: Miss Fortunes, I received this novel in the mail last week after answering a post on Crusie’s web site for people interested in reading the book and subsequently discussing it on their blog.It is no great hardship to talk about a book, but after agreeing to do so I worried about not liking it (silly me). Why? I am not a big fan of collaborative novels (and I won’t get into my dislike of anthologies featuring favorite authors who always seem to have the shortest novella in the book). I invariably spend too much time trying to decide who wrote what and it ruins a great read. While I was able to pinpoint Crusie’s “Mare” and briefly perused a review on Amazon by a fan of Stuart’s work that was thrilled with Elric, the writing style of each author complemented the others. After the first few busy chapters of character introduction, there were a lot of people in this book; it was easy to enjoy it as a whole (though yes, I did wonder if they shared writing cheerfully evil Xan). Whether a fan of one, or all of the authors contributing to this collaboration, readers will not be disappointed.

Lastly, I would be remiss not to confirm this is indeed a novel, not an anthology as reported by an overworked and overwhelmed, as opposed to misinformed, professional reviewer.

Thanks for the book. It was a fun read.

Update: 7/10/07

For those interested in another professional review, the June 1-15 issue of Booklist (volume 103, number 19-20) features The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes as part of their Romance in Brief section on page 48:

"Earth-shaking sex and belly-shaking laughs abound."
(Diana Tixier Herald)

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