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A Caress of Twilight

by Laurell K Hamilton

(Ballantine Books, US $7.50 / Canada $10.99, 348 pages, paperback, 2002.)

Do you think your love life is an unfairly popular topic at family gatherings? Try being a faerie princess. Meredith's place in her society -- and perhaps her very cover scansurvival -- now depends on her getting pregnant as fast as possible. To aid in this process, she has the enthusiastic help of several fey men and a goblin, some devastatingly gorgeous and others simply devastating. But the sidhe aren't very fertile, and Meredith has a rival who is also trying to beget an heir ...

The second in Laurell K. Hamilton's new series, this novel picks up close to where A Kiss of Shadows left off. It reveals further character growth, including a surprise about Kitto the goblin. Hamilton explores the nature of sexuality and intimacy, what it means to form bonds beyond the usual. Belonging is another major theme: which race, which court, who holds power over whom, and how the Unseelie Court accepts all comers despite the Seelie Court's exclusivity. The story also begins to hint at the source of fey infertility and other problems. But the revelations bring only further challenges, not solutions.

If you enjoyed Hamilton's first series about vampire executioner Anita Blake, you'll also love her faery tales about Princess Meredith Nic-Essus. This one is closer to fantasy than horror, but still takes place in the same dark world. Highly recommended.

Review by Elizabeth Barrette.

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