I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire. I don’t remember where I first heard about this book but the title really piqued my interest. The more I read, the more I was chomping at the bit to get this book. San Francisco, faeries, a heroine named October, what’s not to love! The premise is deceptively simple. October “Toby” Daye is a changeling, her dad was human and her mother wasn’t. She lives in our world working as a private investigator with a fiancé and a daughter. On the side, she also does investigative work for the lands of Faerie and her liege lord, Sylvester. The unthinkable occurs and Sylvester’s wife and daughter are taken from his lands quite mysteriously. He is desperate to get them back and calls Toby for assistance. His twin brother, Simon is the most likely suspect. Toby follows him for three days when she finally gets a break. He goes to the Tea Gardens and meets up with Oleander, who sounds like quite a nasty Fae. Then all of a sudden, things go wrong. They knew she was hiding; watching them. They capture her and transform her into a fish! No one knows what has happened to her. Fast forward to fourteen years later!!!! Toby is back among the air breathing world. The spell wore off and Toby looks exactly the same as the day she disappeared. Try explaining that to the police or her family! Life in a shambles, she works the graveyard shift at a grocery store and tries to pretend that Faerie doesn’t exist. One of the few people from her old life, Evening Winterrose, calls and leaves a couple of messages on her machine, each more insistent than the last. The final message reveals that Evening is in terrible trouble. She wants to hire Toby to solve her murder, casting a curse so that Toby can’t refuse. The message ends with a door slamming open, footsteps, and then a gunshot. Now Toby has to reenter Faerie and find out who took Evening’s life before the curse ends hers as well.
This book is haunting, even after you finish it. I was so impressed with this book that I want to read it again. Faerie and our world exist side by side; this is what urban fantasy is all about! The language Ms. McGuire uses is lyrical, entrancing. Nor does she scrimp on the details. Descriptions are vivid, Kelpies on the street corner, pixies living in the Safeway. I was stunned when she was captured and turned into a fish, crying for her at the loss of her boyfriend and child. When we see Toby again I wanted to weep for her life is so desolate, barren of friends except for her cats Cagney and Lacey. When Toby disappeared it was 1995 and she wakes up in 2009 and her feelings of alienation and confusion and guilt come through loud and clear. Evening’s death drags her back into her old life forcing her to start to deal with the people who were left behind. This volume definitely focuses on solving Evening’s death but I hope some other mysteries will be cleared up in subsequent volumes. Mysteries like the fact that Sylvester’s wife and child were returned to him while Toby was “away”. They don’t speak of what happened while they were gone. What happened to Simon and Oleander (who make great bad guys)? Another is the mystery of Toby’s mother, Amandine. There are a lot of references to her but we don’t meet her. And last but certainly not least, The Luidaeg. I know we have to be seeing more of her later. This is a stellar debut from Seanan McGuire. Rosemary and Rue is urban fantasy at its best!
The world of Faerie never disappeared: it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie's survival—but no secret can be kept forever, and when the fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born. Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, these second-class children of Faerie spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Or, in the case of October "Toby" Daye, rejecting it completely. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating into a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, Faerie has other ideas.
The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose, one of the secret regents of the San Francisco Bay Area, pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby is forced to resume her old position as knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills and begin renewing old alliances that may prove her only hope of solving the mystery...before the curse catches up with her.