No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Friday, November 04, 2016

2016/57: A Little Familiar -- R. Cooper

That was one of the problems with dating ordinary humans; eventually it became necessary to either tell them the truth or break up with them. Relationships with them could be done, of course, with the right sort of person, the kind already inclined to gaze longingly at full moons, the ones who searched for fairies when they saw a circle of mushrooms, or ran toward breaking waves instead of away from them.[loc. 44]

Piotr Russell is a powerful witch, but his very power makes him lonely: he can't face a relationship with an outsider, and all the witches and magic-users he knows are paired up or otherwise ineligible. Instead, Piotr keeps to himself and channels his energy into providing for his coven: he's an excellent cook and gardener, and he bestows blessings liberally.

Piotr's ancestors have sought solace in the companionship of their familiars -- yet when Piotr is approached by Bartleby, a 'human familiar' who has no magic of his own and yet is capable of augmenting another witch's power, Piotr rejects him, because he is old-fashioned enough to hope for love as well as expedience. And surely Bartleby, gorgeous and gregarious, can never love him ...

Okay, you can probably see where this story is going: it doesn't surprise, but it is sweet and warm and often funny. Also quite short. It wasn't quite the 'pairing of equals' that I prefer in my M/M romances: Bartleby is described in terms that, while not feminising, do present him as more fragile, fey and lacking in agency than Piotr. I did like the setting, though, complete with the ghost of Piotr's great-aunt in the parlour.

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