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Ceridwen

Ceridwen

You kids get off my lawn. 

Cozy Gothic!

Slowly Fell - Jayne Fresina

While I'm not sure such a thing can exist, I would describe Slowly Fell as a cozy Gothic tale. There's all the earmarks of a Victorian Gothic: lost babes and a crumbling manse, witches and curses, consumption, murder and missing persons. But the central character of the novel, Sarah Wetherby, is such a stalwart and unflappable person that she stares down any spoopy mysteries through sheer force of will. She is Lady Elizabeth's "coping girl", sent all around England to help those in need, as a sort of helpmate to people Elizabeth deems worthy.

 

Sarah is sent to the town of Slowly Fell to help the parson, whose wife is dying, to help with his copious children and the sickbed. The novel bops around in time, giving us backstories to Sarah, Elizabeth, the town blacksmith, and the history of Slowly Fell itself. Turns out, all those stories are interconnected, often in ways that seem very upsetting to the principles. Much of this just slides off, due to tone, in a way that should have been frustrating, but wasn't? Or not ezactly. I didn't know what to expect from the novel, so it's hard to say. I think I was expecting more Goth and less coziness, but it wasn't a bad way to spend the time. Reminded me a bit of The Thirteenth Tale, in that way. It's half spooking, but safe.