Title: A Hint of Faery: Magical Short Stories Volume One
Publisher/Author: T. Thorn Coyle
Pages: 64pp
Price: $7.99 / $3.99

In this short collection, Coyle brings together five of their fantastical stories. By turns frightening and uplifting, these stories evoke the magic of the fae in the modern world. In “The Day the Magic Fox Appeared” a young woman is offered an extraordinary opportunity when a talking fox steps out of her favorite bath towel. In “The Rabbit’s Head” a family curse may finally turn into a blessing for a man badly in need of a bit of luck. In “I Never Caught Her Name” an Irish woman with an obsessive interest in magic meets a strange being on a bridge. In “The Stars of Neverwhere” a little boy is convinced that his weird neighbor is planning something malicious — or, perhaps, something wonderful. Finally, in “The Ice Cream Van,” a man who has just been dumped by his judgmental, long-time girlfriend rediscovers his joy thanks to an odd ice cream truck ….

I have long been a fan of Coyle’s novels, and supported several of their campaigns on Kickstarter. Most recently, the collection A Hint of Faery was one of the perks for backing a new mystery series. And this is a terrific anthology. While technically geared towards adults, many of these stories could be enjoyed by tweens and teens, as well. (No sex, only mild swearing, and any violence takes place off the page.)

While the stories vary in length and tone, I found something in each of them to enjoy and strike my curiosity. The reason the fox appears in the first story, for example, could easily be spun into a full-length novella or even novel. “The Rabbit’s Head,” by far the darkest of the tales, was nonetheless streaked through with humor and ended on a hopeful note. My favorite of the collection, “I Never Caught Her Name,” made me long for a bridge and chance to make an offering. “The Stars of Neverwhere” reminded me that the fae are strange and mysterious, but not always malicious, and that cats will always be cats. And “The Ice Cream Van” gave me hope, because endings are often beginnings and sometimes we just need the chance to find joy again.

I have only one complaint, and it’s a minor one: I wish that the cover art was better displayed. It probably varies by device, but on my tablet the covers for the individual stories are tiny. Maybe a quarter the size of the screen. And they look so pretty! I would love it if they were full-sized, just like the cover of the entire collection.

Do yourself a favor. If you need a pick-me-up or a reminder that there is magic and wonder in the world, go grab a copy of A Hint of Faery.

Recommended to fans of Coyle’s other fiction (long and short), as well as Touchstones by Stephanie Burgis, The Hunchback’s Captive by Jay Sturner, and At the Gates by Patrick Samphire.

[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]

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