Title: Priddy’s Tale
Author: Harper Fox
Release: 18th June 2016
Genre: M/M (mystery / fantasy)
What doesn’t kill you sometimes makes you wish it had...
Priddy’s a lost soul in a part of Cornwall the tourists don’t get to see. He’s young, sweet-natured and gorgeous, but that’s not enough to achieve escape velocity from his deadbeat village and rotten family life.
He’s a drifter and a dreamer, and self-preservation isn’t his strong suit. An accidental overdose of a nightclub high leaves him fractured, hallucinating, too many vital circuits fried to function in a tough world. When a friend offers him winter work in a lighthouse – nothing to do but press the occasional button and keep the windows clean – he gratefully accepts.
His plans to live quietly and stay out of trouble don’t last very long. A ferocious Atlantic storm washes a stranger to Priddy’s lonely shore. For a shipwrecked sailor, the new arrival seems very composed. He’s also handsome as hell, debonair, and completely unconcerned by Priddy’s dreadful past.
Priddy has almost given up on the prospect of any kind of friendship, and a new boyfriend – let alone a six-foot beauty with eerily good swimming skills – out of the question entirely. But Merou seems to see undreamed-of promise in Priddy, and when they hit the water together, Priddy has to adapt to Merou’s potentials too, and fast. His lover from the sea might be a mere mortal from the waist up, but south of that line...
Far-flung west Cornwall has a hundred mermaid tales. Priddy’s loved the stories all his life. Now he has to face up to a wildly impossible truth. Merou’s life depends upon his courage and strength, and if Priddy can only find his way in the extraordinary world opening up all around him, all the ocean and a human lifetime needn’t be enough to contain the love between merman and mortal.
Proper job! I loves me a good ol’ Cornish yarn about mermaids or mermen, myths and legends me ‘ansome! There is no other author in my opinion who can conjure up all the brooding and mysterious atmosphere of my home county better than Harper Fox. And for this tale of a merman and all its mystery this is exactly what is needed. As a child I remember the folklore and stories surrounding The Mermaid of Zennor and its church with the mermaid pew giving rise to the story. This is only one of many. Cornwall being a seafaring county is abound with such stories and I was very interested to see where Harper was going to go with this tale.
I don’t usually read m/m stories of a fantasy / paranormal nature, I usually end up doing too much eye-rolling, but if I’m going to trust one author to take me by the hand an introduce me to something new then it’s going to be Harper Fox. I must say the whole surmise of mermen in m/m romance would normally get me to just move on to the next book when browsing, but a story based in Cornwall, the land of legend and myth, the ideal setting for such a story then I acquiesced, opened the first page and was back home standing on the rugged granite cliffs, hearing the seagull cries, the broiling sea below with the smell of brine in my nostrils. Yes, due to Harper’s wonderful descriptive narrative it feels like I’m there even though I’m sat in my living room in Germany.
We meet Jem Priddy and the story of his life to date could fit so many from this area. Just going from one part-time job to the next to make ends meet. Living in an area, that although beautiful for the tourists, offers very little in the way of a future or prospects for young people. Many of them hapless, just drifting on a day to day basis and in the worst case turning to drugs or other misdemeanours just to survive or fight the boredom. This is Jem, feeling left behind when his best friend goes off to Uni and he takes up his winter job of living in a lighthouse, keeping it maintained during the months where the seas batter the coast with gale force winds. My heart went out to Jem, not a bad boy at all but one who has just been dealt a shitty hand in life and now paying the price.
Then on one stormy night while trying to rescue a family from a boat dashed on rocks in fierce seas his life changes forever. He meets Merouac. I loved the way that Harper introduces us to this character. At first it’s not obvious what he is but due to the strange things he says and the way he behaves we know that either he is a nutcase or he doesn't appear to be all that he makes out to be. I loved the way Harper built up the mystery, suspense and secretiveness surrounding this character. Revealing his true identity gradually until it seems the most normal thing in the world to accept that he is a merman. So much better than just finding a merman stranded on a beach, that would have been just far too cliché. The romance made my heart soar, seeing that Merouac is exactly what Jem needs and they complement each other totally. But when Jem finds out the full truth about Merouac then hard decisions have to made as to whether there will be a chance of a future for them. But then what does Jem have to lose? It’s not as though he’s going to have a bright future in Cornwall. So when the time comes I’m egging and cajoling him all the way to just go for it. Do it and be happy!
As for the merman sex? Well, this would be the part that normally would be in danger of getting me groaning and rolling my eyes with cheesiness but I suspended believability and let Harper work her magic on me and I was not disappointed! Yes, it worked very well, keeping it within the bounds of credibility and not going totally overboard with the too fantastical. So I could read the whole book without a groan or eye roll in sight. There is also a subplot which brings in an added mystery aspect and is only revealed right at the very end making the whole story a delight and kept my interest from beginning to end.
If you want a read that combines the mystical with a mystery, a good portion of legend and beautiful characters then you will not be disappointed with this story at all. I can thoroughly recommend it, entertaining, empathetic and with lots of soul. A story that even this die hard sceptic of the fantastical fell in love with and enjoyed every bit of it.
Meet Harper Fox
Bestselling British author Harper Fox has established herself as a firm favourite with readers of M/M romance. Over the past three years, she’s delivered thirteen critically acclaimed novels, novellas and short stories, including Scrap Metal (Rainbow Awards Honourable Mention),The Salisbury Key(CAPA nominated) and Life After Joe (Band of Thebes Best LGBT Book, 2011).
Harper takes her inspiration from a wide range of British settings – wild countryside, edgy urban and most things in between – and loves to use these backdrops for stories about sexy gay men sharing passion, adventure and happy endings. She also runs her own publishing imprint, FoxTales.
Harper has recently returned from Cornwall to her native Northumberland, and already the bleak moorlands around her home are providing a wealth of new ideas for future work.