Saturday, February 15, 2020

St. Valentine, St. Abigail, St. Brigid, by C.L. Polk

[Single]
★★★★☆ A Sweet Story with a Sting

(Modern Fantasy) Her mom has grown rich by telling people’s fortunes, but all Theresa Anne wants is for her girlfriend to be safe. And to be brave enough to actually talk to this “girlfriend.” (5,551 words; Time: 18m)


"," by (edited by Ruoxi Chen), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2020.090 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Melissa wants Lucille to be her girlfriend, and she things of her as such, even though she’s never been brave enough to talk to her. Further, she wants to protect her. When she learns Gerry Riley is trying to force Lucille to be his girl, Melissa is moved to action, but never really sees that what she’s doing is only a little better than what Gerry is trying to do.

Both she and Gerry have considerable wealth at their disposal, as contrast Lucille who has little or nothing. And they both have considerable magical powers available to them, vs. Lucille who’s essentially helpless. In this fight over Lucille, they’ve both reduced her to an object they both want.

Melissa makes a ruinous deal with the bees in order to gain the powers to attack Gerry, and even then she almost blows it. But for his inherent cowardice, he’d have completed his spell and gained total control of her—bees or no bees. She proves the braver one, and he dies. But the cost of her deal with the bees is that she can’t go to college with Lucille; she has to stay home and tend the bees.

The real winner in this story is Lucille, who gets to college and meets a nice girl there. And, of course, the bees.

Observations: Melissa’s name means “bee,” and the practice of telling the future using bees is called melissomancy.

St Valentine is, among other things, the patron saint of beekeepers, and St. Abagail is the patron of honeybees and beekeepers, whereas St. Brigid is (among other things) the patron saint of abandoned children. Perhaps there’s a further connection I’m missing, but these sort of work together.

Con: It was hard to root for Theresa, who’s essentially a stalker. Yes, she paid a high price at the end, but she doesn’t seem to have learned from it.

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C.L. Polk Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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