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Book Review: Fancie’s Followers by Jannet Ridener

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When I first heard of Fancie’s Followers, I thought it would be the perfect book for me to read. It’s inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which I have never read, and I’m really not much of a Shakespeare fan, either. In other words, if I liked the book, I knew there was a good chance that others who weren’t devotees to the Bard would like it, too.

While I have never read the play that inspired the book, I do know enough about the original story to see the parallel between characters. If you have read A Midsummer Night’s Dream, then you’ll be happy to know all the characters are still here, albeit in thinly-veiled contemporary disguises, and the storyline runs close to the source material.

The story revolves around a group of people who are each facing their own seemingly insurmountable dilemma. Sheriff James Weaver is suffering from a severe case of boredom mixed with a dose of midlife crisis. He’s tied down by the constraints of life and doesn’t even know it. Elaine just wants to be loved, and she’d prefer if that love came from her crush, Alex, who is too busy doting on his fiancée, Mia, to realize he doesn’t actually love her. Emmett is Alex’s new friend, and Elaine’s new crush. Each of these individuals are living messed up lives but things become even more chaotic when they find themselves unwittingly involved in a battle of wills between Theron and Eugenia, the king and queen of the fairies.

The mention of Theron and Eugenia brings up one of my few complaints with the book. I wish the author had made allowances for readers who have no knowledge at all about A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The word ‘fairy’ is never used within the pages so it could be confusing for some to read about people who talk to trees and animals and look down on mortal affairs as minor inconveniences. Even the infamous Puck might not be recognized because he goes by the name Robin, with the more familiar name never being mentioned.

I also saw little reason for the moon-worshiping women. They seemed to have very little to do with either the affairs of the mortals or the battle of wills between the two fairies. Their presence doesn’t really detract from the overall story, but it doesn’t add anything, either.

Fancie’s Followers would be a great read for anyone who thinks about reading Shakespeare but worries about getting lost within dry and dated language. The contemporary setting dusts off the classic tale and makes it something fun and lively that anyone can enjoy. If you’re looking for a light and funny story that flows easily and won’t take too much of a time commitment, Fancie’s Followers is the book for you.

(Reviewed by Marty Shaw for Reader Views)

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