cover image Fair Peril

Fair Peril

Nancy Springer. Avon Books, $12 (246pp) ISBN 978-0-380-78413-4

Like Springer's earlier book, Larque on the Wing, this is an eccentric, charming fantasy that combines fairy tale with a smack of satire. On the first anniversary of her divorce, storyteller Buffy Murphy heads to the woods for some well-deserved solitude and creative inspiration. What she never imagined is that this inspiration would come in the shape of a talking frog who claims to be Prince Adamus d'Aurca. All he needs is a kiss, he says, and the curse he received from the queen of Fair Peril will be broken. Buffy has no intention of kissing a frog, but sees great storytelling possibilities, so she takes him home. To Buffy's dismay, her teenage daughter Emily kisses Adamus, turning him into a beautiful prince. The two then run off to Fair Peril--a land accessed through, of all places, the local mall. What follows is a rollicking, outrageous modern tale of make-believe as Buffy and her friend, a gay librarian named Levon, travel back and forth between the real world and Fair Peril to save Emily from the jealous queen. Storytelling, Buffy soon discovers, is the key to power in Fair Peril, a power that may retrieve her daughter and her own sense of self. Springer has created a hilarious blend of feminism and fantasy in this heartfelt story of the power of a mother's love. (Nov.)