Review: Once Upon a Fabulous Time (R.M. Gauthier, Joanne Van Leerdam, Lyra Shanti, Aliya DalRae, Eva Pasco, J.B. Richards)

This is literally one of the most fabulous short story collections I’ve ever read. The Indie Fabs, six renowned fantasy and romance authors, in a joint effort created nine stories of the supernatural, linked together by the heart-warming story of librarian Millie who fights against the closing down of ‘her’ small town library. In the course of events, she discovers nine books which she reads one by one, hoping to find some answers to her problems there…

“A Rose by Any Other Name” by Joanne Van Leerdam is, as the title suggests, a retelling of “Romeo and Juliet” – only this time mixed up with the old folk tale of Rapunzel. Tragicomic and utterly romantic, it takes us back into our childhood days when we used to read our first fairy tales and dreamed of love, romance and adventure. “The Star Maiden” by Lyra Shanti is a very unusual and poetic prequel to “Pinocchio”: young Gepetto falls in love with the fairy that, many years later, will make his wooden doll come alive. Next is Aliya DalRae’s “Bitter Beauty”, which strikes a different tone: it takes us into the dark and harsh, but also beautiful world of werewolves, where a love story develops between a young female on the run and a protective male.

Eva Pasco’s “Mr. Wizardo” is a heart-warming modern-day edition of “The Wizard of Oz”, complete with a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, a Cowardly Lion, a Dorothy, and of course a Wizard: a college English teacher, who greatly influences his pupils. Joanne Van Leerdam’s “Where Darkness Lies” takes us to a really magical fairy land, with unicorns, elves, pixies and trolls – and valuable lessons about kindness, loyalty and trust. Then, in “The Dragon’s Heir”, J.B. Richards tells us about the Dragon Stone that can do both good and evil depending on whom it serves, and about a dragon shifter and a young prince who set out to recover it and fall in love.

It’s Aliya DalRae’s turn again with “Sweet Distraction”: this time it is cat shifters who – in alliance with their friends the werewolves – try to find out who is killing their kind for their skins in the seemingly peaceful small town of Fallen Cross. R.M. Gauthier in “The Melting Pole” brings up an environmental issue: Christmas is sinking into the sea due to the melting Pole, and the elves and reindeer try to convince the humans to do something about global warning. Finally, in “The Nameless Curse”, Lyra Shanti tells us about a beautiful young farmer’s daughter who puts it into her head to teach handsome but bitter King Rumpel Stelze how to love…

This is real high-quality reading, from beginning to end, every single beautiful story. Romance and adventure, fantasy and drama, it’s all there, in various amazing forms, and it makes us start believing in fairy tales again!

Published by: Roberta Franklin

I’m an author of romantic fiction, born in Germany and living in Wales and Greece. I’ve worked as a journalist, as social hostess on a cruise ship, as an insurance agent, as a translator and teacher… I love books, movies, computer games, history – and I feel at home everywhere around the world!

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