Mortal Follies by Alexis Hall (The Mortal Follies #1)

A young noblewoman must pair up with a rumoured witch to ward off a curse in this irresistible sapphic romance from the bestselling author of Boyfriend Material.

It is the year 1814 and life for a young lady of good breeding has many difficulties. There are balls to attend, fashions to follow, marriages to consider and, of course, the tiny complication of existing in a world swarming with fairy spirits, interfering deities, and actual straight-up sorcerers.

Miss Maelys Mitchelmore finds her entry into high society hindered by an irritating curse. It begins innocuously enough with her dress slowly unmaking itself over the course of an evening at a high-profile ball, a scandal she narrowly manages to escape.

However, as the curse progresses to more fatal proportions, Miss Mitchelmore must seek out aid, even if it means mixing with undesirable company. And there are few less desirable than Lady Georgianna Landrake—a brooding, alluring young woman sardonically nicknamed “the Duke of Annadale”—who may or may not have murdered her own father and brothers to inherit their fortune. If one is to believe the gossip, she might be some kind of malign enchantress. Then again, a malign enchantress might be exactly what Miss Mitchelmore needs.

With the Duke’s help, Miss Mitchelmore delves into a world of angry gods and vindictive magic, keen to unmask the perpetrator of these otherworldly attacks. But Miss Mitchelmore’s reputation is not the only thing at risk in spending time with her new ally. For the rumoured witch has her own secrets that may prove dangerous to Miss Mitchelmore’s heart—not to mention her life.

CONTRIBUTOR(S): Nneka Okoye (Narrator)
PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House Audio
YEAR: 2023
LENGTH: 392 pages (11 hours 49 minutes)
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy, Historical, Romance

Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Main Character(s).

MORTAL FOLLIES is a story of curses and romance, narrated by a faerie intimated to be Robin/Puck of A Midsummer Night's Dream. While it is set in 1814, Puck seems to be telling the story from some time further in the future, possibly in the 21st century. Maelys seems to be cursed, and keeps running into a woman nicknamed "the Duke of Annadale" who is rumored to have murdered her own father and brothers. She's also rumored to know magic, and seems to be Maelys's only chance at getting rid of the curse (as long as she's not really the one who cast it). 

The romance was fun, and the stakes escalated appropriately. I liked the story but found Puck frustrating as a narrator. Because they are recalling these events from so far in the future, their interjections kept me from sinking completely into the 19th century setting. It seems like these may form some overarching story which moves between books, but it happened to hit upon a style I don't personally enjoy.

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  • THE DIABLO'S CURSE by Gabe Cole Novoa

Moderate CW for sexual content, classism, transphobia, homophobia, sexism, misogyny, drug use, war, parental death, death.

Minor CW for sexual assault, rape.

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Curling pink vines with two women tangled in each other's arms. A Robin rests on a branch below them.


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