cover image Ironskin


Tina Connolly. Tor, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3059-8

Steeped in the gothic tradition and borrowing freely from Jane Eyre, this debut romantic fantasy takes few risks with an old-school tale of love, betrayal, and redemption. Jane Eliot, covering her fey-scarred face with an iron half-mask to prevent her magically induced rage from leaking out, takes a position as a governess at a half-ruined manor house on the moors. Dorie, Jane’s charge, is also fey-cursed; her mother, while pregnant, was taken over by the fey during the Great War. Dorie’s father, Edward Rochart, broods over Dorie’s fate as well as his own dark bargains with the fey who haunt the nearby woods. Emotive eyes are a frequent feature (“There was a well of sorrow in those amber eyes”; “The waterfall of desire spilled over into her eyes”). The characters are rather modern in their growing appreciation of their fey “curses,” whose powers they tend to adopt rather than rejecting them in horror, but Connolly provides plenty of discussion of fashion, courtship, and marriage for fans of Victorian gothics. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown. (Oct.)