Madeline, Maddie, MacFaddin spent a summer at a B&B in Ticonderoga Falls as a young child. There she lured by a creature but save by another but she remembers none of this. All she remembers is the good times there. Currently though her life is anything but a good time. She's recently divorced, has a nine year old son and is suffering with writer's block. She loves her son dearly but if she doesn't soon get something wrote and sold, he may end up with her ex!
Ash can't believe Maddie is back. He wanted to mark her as a young child but she was way too young. He never expected to see her again. He's not sure why she's back and while he's glad she is back, this wasn't the best time to come. It's soon going to be the harvest and Ash has some relatives coming that he doesn't particularly like or trust.
Ash and his clan are Darklings, strange, magical creatures. These creatures can change shape and do to walk in the human world. There natural form is one with dark wings and leathery skin. They can not enter a house or window without an invite but will trick people into inviting them in where they will take their dreams. For that is what the Hunt is, the harvesting of dreams. There are rules about not hurting the humans but not all of Ash's relatives care about the rules.
Ash has control over Ticonderoga Falls due to a curse. This curse is against the Driscoll family who killed Ash's wife. As long as the curse is in effect, everything in town and its surrounding area is under Ash's control, safe from wild Darklings. His cousins are envious of his owning his own land full of humans to harvest. Will they follow the rules or will they try to take over Ash's claim?
Once again Merrie Destefano has put out an edgy urban romance that will attract both romance readers and fantasy ones. She's developed creatures that have never been seen before and a world that seems only too possible.
The characters in this story are outstanding. Maddie comes across as a caring mother as well as a creative author. Ash is torn between his past and what he wants for a future. One of the best characters though is Elspeth, Ash's halfling daughter. She's a teenager who has never been around humans and seldom around her father. Her time of discovery and her teenage emotions come across the page with the power to draw you to her.
The town of Ticonderoga Falls is built so you can see the streets, the stores and the population. Most of the story takes place on Halloween, so you end up trick or treating with the children of the town, and those who pretend to be children. Town traditions become known and those that have special places in the town are revealed.
The Darkling clan rules are explained and how they are lived by are exposed throughout the story. These rules define the interactions between Darklings and humans and even the interactions between Darklings! This very different society is fully developed and even the details are perfect.
Each chapter is written in the first person. However, the person who is dictating the chapter changes chapter to chapter. There is no set or even approximate length of the chapters. They can be as long as several pages or as short as 2. Regardless of the length, each pushes the story forward.
I really enjoyed this story. The characters and creatures were unique and interesting. The plot had plenty of twists. The bad guys were truly bad and the good guys were perfect. The love story wasn't mushy but progressed with tolerance and respect. Absolutely terrific story.
Halloween is a bad time to return to the woods . . .
Madeline MacFaddin ("Mad Mac" to fans of her bestselling magical stories) spent blissful childhood summers in Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, some joyous, some tantalizingly only half-remembered. And she's always believed there was something living in these wooded hills.
But Maddie doesn't remember the dark parts—and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area's terrified residents captive. She has no recollection of Ash, the strange and magnificent creature who once saved her life as a child, even though it is the destiny of his kind to prey upon humanity. And soon it will be the harvest . . . the time to feast.
Once again Maddie's dreams—and her soul—are in grave danger. But magic runs deep during harvest. Even a spinner of enchanted tales has wondrous powers of her own . . .