cover of The Village Maid by Jane Buehler

She’s gone from riches to rags…

Once a castle courtier, Avianna now toils as a laundry maid. She owes the landlady two moons’ rent, and she’s destroying her one asset—her looks. Her best and only plan to escape poverty is to lure hapless Jeb Doolihan into marriage.

Jeb’s handsome and rich… and boring. And Avianna can’t stop thinking about her new friend in the village, the humble fairy Thorn. Thorn actually talks to her, unlike most men. He’s teaching her to read. And now he’s starting to look far too attractive.

But Thorn’s a fairy. And fairies can cast love spells.

Avianna is determined to resist his charms and pursue her goal. Thorn doesn’t fit the picture of the secure life she’s always wanted. But when they escape together from a pirate invasion, that picture starts to change.

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My Review of The Village Maid

I discovered this series when I bought the first book early last year. It was also my introduction to “cozy fantasy,” which has now become one of my favorite genres. So when Buehler asked if I was interested in reviewing the next book, I jumped on that like, well, like Avianna jumps on potential husbands.

I really love this series. It’s got enough classic fairy-tale elements to really call to that type of magic and lore, but it’s also got a nice modern feel that makes it feel less formal. Also like your average fairy tale, there are lessons to be learned all around, and the characters must look in the most unlikely places to learn them. And also to find what they most want. Avianna and Thorn are a great couple because they seem rather unlikely (if you put aside that it’s obvious Thorn loves Avianna). In particular, I loved the aftermath of the rebellion angle of this book. One person’s rebellion for freedom is another person’s “crap, what do I do now,” which came across very well.

I’d say more, but you probably get the idea. Grab this series if you want some lighthearted romance with a little bit of fantasy. There are adult scenes—don’t be fooled, but I think there might be alternative versions without them if that sort of thing isn’t your cup of bookish tea.

About Jane Buehler

I write cozy fantasy romances where everyday people (and fairies) have adventures and fall in love. They are lighthearted stories with action and adventure, love and magic, where protagonists learn to believe in themselves and find their courage. And yes, they are kissing books. They are the beach reads that Éowyn packs when she goes on vacation. I believe that by portraying positive relationships with good communication, romance novels can help readers envision such relationships for themselves, serve as a model of proper consent for young people, and portray diverse types of relationships and people. They can be a fun escape while still having depth and contributing to a better society.

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