Review: The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle (+ Giveaway!)
A contemporary romance inspired by Christina Rossetti's eerie, sensual poem, "Goblin Market." Four neighbors encounter sinister enchantments and a magical path to love in a small, modern-day Puget Sound town, where a fae realm hides in the woods and waters... Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out. Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract. Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever. It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own.
Why I Wanted To Read This Book
Oh, hi there goblins, midwinter night's enchantments and cursed kisses, contemporary romance inspired by 19th Century poetry. It sounded messy as hell and I could not resist. When I saw The Goblins of Bellwater available to wish for on NetGalley a few months ago, I jumped at the chance to read it early.
It had been a while since I read "Goblin Market," but it hadn't been that long since I'd seen Labyrinth (or started Wintersong another recent goblin-themed novel). There are definitely some Labyrinth-vibes in The Goblins of Bellwater, and I feel okay about it.
What I Love About This Book
There are strong familial bonds here, both between the sisters and Kit and Grady (and also Grady's connections with his family back home). I enjoy watching the romances develop between the characters (even though Skye's and Grady's is enchanted and then goes down this weird, non-verbal path). I also love the madness that overtakes those cursed, particularly Skye.
The setting is magical. A small town in the Puget Sound where everyone knows everyone, surrounded by these mystical woods and waters. I've never been to that area, but I could see and feel it in every description. I felt the darkness and the cold.
Also, the artistry! Honestly, artists in fiction can be really annoying. But Skye uses hers to help tell her story when she literally cannot say or write anything about what has happened to her. And Grady's art is cooking, used to nourish and comfort those he cares about.
There are definitely some parts that needed some work. For one, there are a lot of people vying to be the main character in this novel. We have four different POVs here, alternating every chapter or so. This can be tricky to pull off, but I was never confused. There were not headings for each chapter or section announcing the POV (thank you!), but it was always very clear.
With that said, I probably couldn't tell you who this story belongs to (Kit, Livy, or Skye), which does bother me a little. I was personally more attached to Skye, but she had to share the stage with a lot of other voices. At just 288 pages, I feel like it should have been more clear who owns this story.
This is also a New Adult novel, full of adult themes. There's cursing and sex and other dark content. But it also isn't? When Skye and Grady are deep in their enchanted/cursed romance, one of the..uh, side effects is a nearly uncontrollable urge for each other. But these scenes are either pretty tame or they happen off-stage. Does it make me weird that I wanted to see a little more of that?
Should you read it? I had a lot of fun reading The Goblins of Bellwater. It was a fast plot-based read with romance, adventure, and nasty little magical creatures. If you like fairy tales turned on their heads, check this one out!
*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*
Expected Publication October 1, 2017 by Central Avenue Publishing
There are 5 prize packages up for grabs, including 4 element prize packages (which feature heavily in the novel) and one grand prize. Register below, and good luck!