cover image The Fairies of Sadieville: A Novel of the Tufa

The Fairies of Sadieville: A Novel of the Tufa

Alex Bledsoe. Tor, $27.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8336-5

In Bledsoe’s multilayered sixth contemporary fantasy tale of the Tufa, exiled fae who long ago settled in the Appalachians, the discovery of a long-lost silent film offers up clues to their forgotten origins, as well as a potential way home. In the present day, grad students Justin Johnson and Veronica Lopez stumble across impossibly realistic century-old footage of a woman becoming a fairy. They follow the trail to the former mining town of Sadieville, Tenn., which vanished without a trace. In doing so, they find a portal leading to the Tufa homeland, which sparks debate among those who yearn to return after so many years in exile. As always, Bledsoe infuses his setting with a rich sense of location, atmosphere, and history, underscored by folk music; the secret tragedies of the Tufa unfold over multiple eras before returning to the present. A thought-provoking discussion of race in America’s South—Justin is African-American, Veronica is Puerto Rican—further complicates the narrative and challenges expectations, though at the end it feels a little unfinished. Bledsoe’s series continues to enthrall with complex and nuanced stories. Agent: Marlene Stringer, Stringer Literary. (Apr.)