Jacqueline Simonds offers an urban fantasy with a side helping of Arthurian legend in The Midsummer Wife. It’s a tantalizing reading combination, especially in a time when we know our leaders by their tweets rather than by their ancestry.

Set in the near future, the story goes like this. Ava Cerdwin is the High Priestess of an Order worshipping The Goddess. She travels to Britain in the wake of a terrible nuclear disaster, which devastated London and the surrounding area. Her task is to connect with two men descended from Merlin and King Arthur, convince them to join her, and together heal the country. And by heal Simonds means return it physically, emotionally, and psychically to its best.

Maybe this sounds far-fetched, but that’s what fantasy is all about. And sometimes I need exactly that. I enjoyed the heck out of this tale. It has plenty of suspense, albeit right alongside a healthy dose of insta-love. Or magical lust, depending on how you look at it.

My conclusions

Sometimes authors send me books, generously suggesting I read it “whenever.” Then too much time passes, and I regret not reading and reviewing sooner. This is one of those. Ultimately, though, I think books just pop to the top of my list when they’re supposed to. In the midst of real-life partisan political wrangling, an engaging good versus evil story like The Midsummer Wife is a necessary escape.

Simonds writes well, balancing descriptions, action, and character study. She moves the story forward at a brisk pace, avoiding any distracting tangents. Ava and her compatriots, Harper and Ron, are conflicted and flawed. Of course, that’s just how I like my heroes. Plus, the nasty villains they’re fighting have ancient roots and modern methods, which only adds to the fun.

I liked The Midsummer Wife enough to download its sequel from Kindle Unlimited and dig right in. So far, I’m not quite as captivated with the second book. But it’s still early days.

If you enjoy urban fantasy that connects to ancient legends, this is the book for you. It’s also a chance to support a less well-known, but definitely deserving author.

Pair with Ophelia Immune by Beth Mattson or Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanner. Both are unique fantasy books written by up-and-coming authors.


Many thanks to Strange Fictions Press and the author for the opportunity to read a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.