Beyond the Gate, from Hadley Rille Books. November, 2013
(Also available as an audiobook.)
Truth cannot remain entombed forever. Only long enough. . . Returning to the Vale after six years at university, Linhare is thrust into the long-standing grudges and precarious alliances that maintain her realm. But there is more to this balance of peace and prosperity than political intrigue. Ambition. Secrets. And a terrible deed, glossed over by history–a deed, recorded in a scarred, red journal, that should have remained forever secret. Wait’s secret. Dakhonne warrior and living legend, Wait has shadowed Linhare all her life. Unearthing his past was an accident; keeping it to herself was not. As she wrestles with her duty to return it, and the need to know all, the journal vanishes, heralding a spiral of betrayal and dark magic that casts Linhare into a world of bolleys and Drümbul Lords, of gobbets and ghasty-haints. A world where the Dakhan have not been seen in a thousand years-until Wait falls into Fae to pursue her, bringing with him hope, love, and more truth than she can bear.
Publishers Weekly, November 2013
DeFino’s third novel, a romantic fantasy set in the same world as Finder and A Time Never Lived, follows the adventures of “gracious and genial” Princess Linhare, a veritable paragon of ladylike virtues. Returning to the Vale after six years at university, intrigue and treachery soon leave her stranded in the land of fae. The stoically fierce and barnacle-loyal guard Wait, burdened with a dark secret and a cursed past that only Linhare’s forgiveness and love can alleviate, soon rushes after. Along with Linhare’s best friend, Jinna, and Jinna’s lover, Egalfo, they embark on an Odyssey-like quest—with cursed pirate ships, a mad Dread Queen, seductive fairy lords, and treacherous slavers—to return to a kingdom very different from the one they left. *Though hampered by slow pacing and repeated substitutions of romantic clichés for character development, the story unfolds into a quietly surprising and unexpectedly satisfying conclusion.
*Note, I left that in instead of …-ing it out. It felt dishonest taking it out. It’s an opinion, like any other, even if I don’t agree.