by Claire Contreras
Published by Self-published
Release Date: December 20, 2020
Genres: Gothic, Magic, Romance
Format Read: ARC
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Do you believe in curses?
I never did.
Not until that fated night, six years ago, when I sat in The Devil’s Chair and made a wish.
Not until it came true.
Not until I met River Caliban himself, heir to a fortune of curses. My fated sworn enemy.
I knew I should have stayed away from him. I should have run the other way when he called out my name, when he flashed that sinful smile of his, but instead, I walked toward him, leaving the light behind. Instead, I go against all reason, against all warning, and attended the gala of the year at his dark, allegedly haunted home at the top of the hill.
The moment I step foot inside I know I’m in trouble, but there’s something about River that magnetizes me, reels me in, and when he asks for the impossible, I find it impossible to turn him away.
I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This is my favorite book of 2020.
I know I have raved about Claire Contreras before, and I am here to do it again. This time, in her newest novel, she went for a new-to-her genre: Gothic Romance. Which I happen to be OBSESSED with, so my excitement was through the roof. And let me tell you…. she SLAYED IT. This book left me speechless. I literally just laid there, staring at the ceiling, letting it all wash over me for a while after finishing the book. I just wanted to keep living in the feeling that was left behind…..
“I don’t believe in the curse. You know that.”
Reading Fables & Other lies was like being in a dream. It was like I existed in the fog surrounding Dolos Island. There was something so breathtaking about it all. Everything was so vivid, so detailed, yet so much like being in the haze of a dream, haunting, otherworldly. It was stunning. It was strangely Gothic, with touches of magical realism (which has its own romantic qualities), spooky at times, and so heart-breakingly romantic. It is spellbinding.
Quick summary: Penelope Guzman is forced to return to her island home that she had been living away from for many years. Pan island is heavy with history and drenched in fables, myths, curses and the like (none of which she believes in), all tied directly to her family name, and the mortal enemies to the Guzmans; the Calibans. These families essentially founded Pan Island. Her time home falls in line with Carnival, an annual week long celebration. Penelope finds herself in the gorgeous, mysterious, family rival River Calibans clutches, and in his haunted house…. soon, secrets reveal themselves and the truth behind all those fables and curses start to come to light.
I won’t go too in depth on the story here, but I will leave some thoughts. First of all, the Manor. The descriptions of the Manor, inside and out, how out of time it was, were just spectacular. No electricity, candle lit corridors, black and white tiles, colorful bursts. Something I love in gothic romance is that often times, a house will kind of… breathe. It will almost be alive. Feeding off of emotions, souls… in this case the house and island both seemed to do this, and I find that so beautiful, in a sad way.
“Your love sustained me and made up for a lifetime of loneliness,” he said. “I’ll love you for eternity”
Secondly, I loved falling in love. It was both sudden and yet so subtle at the same time, with Penelope and River. You could feel his longing for her through every hand touch. I could feel it in my own chest, a gravity pulling them together while the curse tried to pull them apart. And then, the gut wrenching moment that left me sobbing in my bed, heart shattered to a million pieces, hoping Claire would put it back together in the last 5% of the book, yet so scared to keep reading.
The depth with which this book took me too emotionally was incredible, and I allowed it all in willingly, and I would happily cry every tear again. This book was worth every tear shed, both of sadness and happiness. I cannot stress enough how beautiful it is. I sincerely hope Claire writes more in this genre, as there are not nearly enough of this type of voice out there right now and it was done so, so well. As I stated right at the beginning, this is my favorite book this year. You won’t read another book quite like this one. It has completely stolen my heart.