Broken Wings by L.J. Baker

Broken Wings - L.J. Baker

This book is so far outside my wheelhouse, I hesitated to review it, because I have no idea what I'm talking about. I mean look at this:


"When Rye Woods, a fairy, meets the beautiful dryad Flora Withe, her libido, as squashed and hidden as her wings, reawakens along with her heart. But Rye is a poor builder's labourer with a teenage sister to raise, while Flora is a wealthy artist-celebrity with a tree-top condominium and a sporty, late-model flying carpet.




Broken Wings is a soaring celebration of the power of love, family, and justice to triumph over intolerance, homophobia, and slavery."


I rarely read romance, I don't much like erotica (although, the heat level on this is pretty low). I'm not queer, and I don't like fairies much. The fae kind. So I quite literally have no idea how I ended up with a lesbian romance set in a world populated with sprites, nymphs, goblins and the occasional fairy. Not. A. Clue. Once I figured out what I had, I almost just deleted it, But oh the blurb was actually intriguing, and the author is a kiwi and I just thought why not.


Turned out, it was pretty good.


Firstly, it had a ton of little nods to NZ (mostly plants and flowers) which cracked me up and probably won't anybody else (although the idea of anyone not-kiwi trying to pronounce Kahikatea is giggleworthy). It got a half a star for that alone.


Secondly the characters are fun. Flora, the rich upper class love interest is *so* so sweet and patient. Rye is unbelievably stubborn, but has good reason to be - she's not only dirt poor, but that way for good reason. She's an illegal immigrant, trying to get her little sister to adulthood so she can claim citizenship, after having run away from a Fairyland that is a whacko religious cultist theocracy, after having been brutalised in an effort to "cure" her of her orientation. Getting deported home could mean literally her death, and probably a terrible life for the little sister she's trying to protect. She's had to do for herself, and live in hiding for 12 years, so getting involved with a celebrity more or less screws her life up in all kinds of ways. Holly, her little sister, is 16ish, and since I live with one of those (a 16yo girl) I recognised the depiction. She's basically a good kid, but has the attention span of a flea, is just as stubborn as her big sister. occasionally irrational and self-centered and very occasionally completely off the rails but finds her way back.


The setting is ridiculous: Nymphs, and brooms that need spare parts, and flying carpets and "the rootway" instead of the motorway and... it's silly, and often quite funny but it doesn't get in the way. It's actually a good way to examine the issues though. You could have written this book about a gay refugee from Syria, for instance, who kidnapped her younger sister, somehow made it to LA or London or whatever, and managed to keep her head down for a decade before accidentally hooking up with a movie star famous enough to be in all the magazines and tv talk shows, but it would have been very difficult to keep any kind of light in that book, and it mightn't have been an enjoyable read - although that might have won some literary awards. Somehow taking the exact same story and telling it in a ditzy setting, turns it into something entirely other.


Anyway, as mentioned, low in the actual on page heat level, which is fine by me, this book took me by surprise in all kinds of ways.