Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have been looking for some fun Lovecraftian fic for a while, and this hit all the buttons for me. I loved the Gothic elements of the setting and the characters, the reimagining of and/or nods to one of the better Frank Belknap Long short stories (papyrus! Egyptology! Museum setting! Strange man!), and the way it intertwined with Lovecraft’s mythos.
Whyborne is of course an alumnus of Miskatonic University, Arkham, and Widdershins is not far from this delightful university town… not too sure about New England geography so not sure where Innsmouth is in relation to this on the fictional map, but I am hoping for a future reference in the later books…? I really liked the dock scenes for these references though, and the Lovecraftian descriptions. There is a secret society and the threat of those from the Outside, as well as abominations conjured by acolytes and occultists in this reality.
The pace didn’t let up and I enjoyed the story too much to notice continuity errors mentioned in other reviews.
Central to the plot are two characters I shipped hard and very much enjoyed reading about. Yes it gets explicit and erotic in the middle, which was gratifying even though I don’t classify myself as a romance fan/reader. I found myself relating very strongly to the pining and suppression going on with Whyborne for various reasons, and the family dynamics and conflicts worked well to build up a picture of a man who was far more resourceful, resilient and interesting than he thinks he is. Without spoiling it, I really liked the way key aspects were resolved to propel him forwards, especially at the highly enjoyable climax, and am excited for his development in the series.
Griffin Flaherty, ex-Pinkerton, is an interesting character whose own backstory I’m looking forward to uncovering further in future books. If this was a spoilery review I’d discuss him further but! I will save those thoughts for book club…
I loved Dr Putnam (Christine) and appreciated her no-nonsense attitude, and female-in-academia struggles.
I bought the first 3 books as an eBook bundle and have 0 regrets. Moving on to Book 2 now and wondering how many of the series I’ll get through before book club on Thursday this week!
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