cover image The Thorn and the Blossom: A Two-Sided Love Story

The Thorn and the Blossom: A Two-Sided Love Story

Theodora Goss. Quirk, $16.95 (82p) ISBN 978-1-59474-551-5

Evelyn Morgan is a university student struggling to lead her own life despite others' expectations; Brendan Thorne's troubles begin when he loses his wife to heart failure and subsequently quits his job. A chance meeting leads to their falling in love around the centerpiece of a medieval Cornish version of the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and from then on their lives and relationship seem to be a modern-day parallel of the frustrated romance between Gawan and his beloved, Elowen. But Goss (In the Forest of Forgetting) presents no ordinary linear tale: the reader is treated to both characters' stories in parallel on alternate sides of an accordion-style book, letting the reader decide which story to begin with. The fantasy elements are light, revolving mostly around Gawan's story and Evelyn's visions of fairies and trolls. Overall this makes the tale align more with old-fashioned romance than pure speculative fiction, but Goss' appealing characters and modern magic atmosphere will continue to attract a following. Illus. (Jan.)