A Fluffy Tale by Ann Somerville
Length: 49,000 words
Julian has a furry ball of trouble to deal with. A tall, dark stranger may provide the solution — but maybe the complications are more than he can handle.
A Fluffy Tale will appeal to lovers of romance and small cute ferret-shaped mammals alike.
The blurb for this story doesn't do it justice. Here we are introduced to Julian and Mr. Talk, Dark and Grumpy. I was also under the impression this was a short story (I missed the word count and the use of the word "Tale" in the title made me think short story for some reason). Still, I trusted the author and the blurb enchanted me enough to give it a try.
I enjoyed this story, although it felt like two parts of one story as the first half "fixes" Julian and the second half "fixes" Zachary. To that end, I was expecting something different to happen than what did, but that's my fault for assuming. In the end I was pleased with how everything figured out and the path that was taken to get there. A slow, sweet romance that is perfect for a nice lounging read.
The kems (ferret-like creatures that have a physical presence, but are capable of vanishing into their host's body) are absolutely adorable. I'd re-read this story again on their presence alone. Each kem, like each host, has a unique personality and that personality does not always mesh with their host. Not much is explained about them, because people don't seem to know anything much about them. It doesn't really matter much for the story. Their presence is enough.
The pace at which events progress and information is revealed works to slowly build the characters, both their background (and baggage) and also their evolution into the characters they are at the end.
While the length and pace are a little slow, I feel for the story being told, it was appropriate, as sudden changes would seem uncharacteristic. While not an action-packed story, it rests on its own merits and is very nice for a mellow day's reading.
The kems and Leo bring a wonderful flavor of character to this story with their playfulness and plotting nature. The serious nature of the two main characters and their relationship is balanced by these other characters, lightening tense moods and raising the spirits of the main characters. They almost play the part of children, helping action along, making mischief happen, and otherwise goofing off.
This is may be something that only bothers me, but this toed the line of "the rich man swooshes in to rescue the poor man." It's not that type of story, although there are definitely elements of it (mostly at the fault of pushy Leo, who I loved). Still, if rich men getting what they want annoys you, even if it helps the not-quite-as-rich, consider this a head's up. However, I don't think it will bother most people.
The nature of this story does not lend it to a fast pace, and parts in the middle dragged a little. Worth reading, but this isn't the story to turn to if searching for an action-packed novel.