Review: Hellebore and Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic (edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft and Catherine Lundoff)

Hellebore and Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft and Catherine LundoffHow did I get it: I received a review copy from JoSelle Vanderhooft, one of the anthology’s editors.

Why did I get it: Before getting a review copy, I already knew I wanted to read Sunny Moraine’s story. I also wanted to read the rest of this collection because I love the anthology’s theme. (This title will also count towards my Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge for 2011.)

How I would rate it: Overall, I would give this collection 4 out of 5 stars. In of the individual stories, I would give 5 out of 5 stars to the stories I’ve actually listed in my review.


Magic that detects crime, magic that heals, magic that destroys: all this and more in the hands of queer women who use their powers to shape their worlds and their destinies.

Review: It took me awhile though to get through this book because I’m not really much of a short story reader. Happily, I found this anthology to be wonderful, different, and full of women dealing with magical forces without being solely defined by their sexual orientation. For the most part, the collection flowed from one tale to the next in a really great way too. 

The stories that that really stood out to me were “Personal Demons” by Jean Marie Ward, “The Windskimmer” by Connie Wilkins, “Sky Lit Bargains” by Kelly A. Harmon, “D is for Delicious” by Steve Berman, “And Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness” by Lisa Nohealani Morton, “Bridges and Lullabies” by Rrain Prior, and “Thin Spun” by Sunny Moraine.

In some respects, I felt like the other stories needed a bit more pack to the punch. This isn’t to say that the characters weren’t strong or cool throughout the anthology though so much as it is a result of my personal reading preferences. However, the writing, uniqueness, and creativity were solid throughout. I was always engaged and pleasantly surprised by the way the tales developed. I never felt that any of the stories was a waste of time or not worth including either, which is always a sign of a strong collection.

In conclusion, very, very good. If you like well-crafted short fiction and want something refreshingly new in terms of Fantasy, pick up this anthology.

About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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3 Responses to Review: Hellebore and Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic (edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft and Catherine Lundoff)

  1. Hmm, this is a new anthology I hadn’t heard of. Thanks for reviewing it. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Reader’s Progress #25 | CSI: Librarian

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