“Wondrous Strange”
by Lesley Livingston
read by author
Produced by Harper Audio
Approx 7 Hours

Kelly Winslow, an aspiring actress in New York City, has just had her big break, when the actress portraying Titania in Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” has been injured and Kelly goes from being the understudy to the lead actress.  But not all is as good as it seems.  Kelly soon learns the world of Fairy and Fae is real, and worse yet, the Winter King, Oberon is not only real but is her real father.  This at first may sound good to suddenly find you are a Fairy Princess, but the Fairy-folk are really not a friendly bunch.   Someone in the Fairy world has decided they don’t want Kelly to realize her birthright.

The troubles all begin when Kelly is rehearsing her lines in Central Park and Sonny Flannery, a Janus Guard for King Oberon (unbeknownst to Kelly) notices something different about Kelly.  Spying on her from the bushes he sees she is having a bad day (seems she forgot her lines during rehearsal and the director was a bit cruel).  Sonny can’t shake the feeling that she is different from most humans so curious he presents her with a rose.  Kelly asks why and Sonny says you look like you needed something nice.   When they part Kelly begins walking home through Central Park and hears the sound of someone screaming from a pond.  It turns out not to be someone but a something, a horse.  With Sonny long gone, Kelly realizes no one is around to help so she dives in to save the drowning horse.  Kelly risks her life to save the horse that seems to be tangled in the vegetation of the bottom of the pond.

The next day Sonny discovers the area where someone was dragged on shore the mud in the grass and some mysterious black beads and copper colored horse’s hairs.   Sonny knows the hairs for what they are, Kelpie hairs.   Kelpies are fairy creatures that lure people into the water and eat them.  When Sonny finds Kelly’s script nearby he fears the worst.   Sonny shows Oberon the beads which Oberon immediately knows them as part of a spell that is set to begin the Great Hunt in which all the evils of the fairy world will be unleashed into the mortal world killing all in sight until the quarry is found.  This time the target is Oberon’s daughter.

Sonny must save Kelly from the fairyworld by letting her know who she is.  At the same time he must find out who is trying to unleash the Hunt.  He suspects Queen Maab, but with a very interesting twist in the tale, the author, Lesley Livingston, creates a bit of a mystery into this fairy tale set in modern day New York City.  Very entertaining bit of young adult fiction that will keep you enthralled until the end.   This book is part one of a three book series but is easily a standalone novel.

I have to note that at first I was a bit leery at the idea of the author reading her own work as the audiobook.  While the authors may have a great feel for what is in the book, the performance as a reader can sometimes lack.  Not so with Lesley Livingstone, she does a superb job of performing the many different voices and expressing all necessary emotion.  This audiobook is an excellent choice from that aspect alone.

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