cover image Deer Life: A Fairy Tale

Deer Life: A Fairy Tale

Ron Sexsmith. Dundurn (IPS, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $16.99 trade paper (129p) ISBN 978-1-4597-3877-5

Singer-songwriter Sexsmith’s first foray into fiction is a timid but charming fairy tale about what happens to the people of two small towns when the beautiful witch Eleanoir arrives. It begins when Crad Grimsby, who runs the Willow Tree tavern and inn and who lost his beloved sister to a witch’s spell when both were children, meets Eleanoir, a young woman with purple eyes just like those of the witch. Maggie Hedlight’s son, Deryn, goes hunting in the woods and never returns; he now wanders the forest as a deer—the handiwork of Eleanoir, who shares more than just her purple eyes with her sorceress mother. Magnus Hinterlund has fallen madly in love with Eleanoir and is unaware of his fiancée’s evil machinations, though his daughter, Claira, sees all. The coming together of these characters in a fight against evil makes for a good story, but there are other rewards as well. A small blossoming occurs in each character, bonds are formed, and simple human fellowship turns out to be a happily-ever-after. Despite some superfluous parentheses and occasional unsure asides, Sexsmith’s novel has much the same effect as his music, conveying uncertainty with fearlessness and heart. (Oct.)