The Angel Stone: A Novel

The Angel Stone: A Novel

4.4 14
by Juliet Dark

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A can’t-miss read for fans of Deborah Harkness and Karen Marie Moning, The Angel Stone weaves a tale of ancient folklore and thrilling fantasy with a passionate love story that transcends time.
For Callie McFay, a half-witch/half-fey professor of folklore and Gothic literature, the fight to save the enchanted town of Fairwick, New…  See more details below


A can’t-miss read for fans of Deborah Harkness and Karen Marie Moning, The Angel Stone weaves a tale of ancient folklore and thrilling fantasy with a passionate love story that transcends time.
For Callie McFay, a half-witch/half-fey professor of folklore and Gothic literature, the fight to save the enchanted town of Fairwick, New York, is far from over. After a hostile takeover by the Grove—a sinister group of witches and their cohorts—many of the local fey have been banished or killed, including Callie’s one true love. And in place of the spirit of tolerance and harmony, the new administration at Fairwick College has fostered an air of danger and distrust.
With her unique magical abilities, Callie is the only one who can rescue her friends from exile and restore order to the school—a task that requires her to find the Angel Stone, a legendary talisman of immense power. Propelled on an extraordinary quest back to seventeenth-century Scotland, Callie risks her life to obtain the stone. Yet when she encounters a sexy incarnation of her lost love, she finds the greater risk is to her heart. As the fate of Fairwick hangs in the balance, Callie must make a wrenching choice: reclaim a chance for eternal passion or save everything she holds dear.

Praise for The Angel Stone
“Intelligently written and visually appealing . . . This story is a sheer delight.”RT Book Reviews
“Dark skillfully entwines the past and present, the mundane and magical, love and loss, to spin a beautifully nuanced and sensuous tale rooted in legend and lore.”Booklist
Praise for Juliet Dark
“Dark’s letter-perfect gothic style is a satisfying tribute to previous gothic novels, and the paranormal elements, including incubi, fae, vampires, and witches, make this a stellar romance.”Booklist, on The Demon Lover
“Fast moving . . .  should appeal to readers of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels.”New York Journal of Books, on The Water Witch

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Fairwick Trilogy , #3
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Random House
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File size:
2 MB

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Chapter One

“Do you believe in fairy tales, Professor McFay?”

I turned to the young man who had asked the question, searching his bland and innocent face for traces of sarcasm or derision. I’d just finished going over the syllabus for my Introduction to Fairy Tales class and had asked the class to write a short essay on their favorite childhood fairy tale. When I asked if there were any questions, I’d gotten the usual: “How long does it have to be?” “Can I use the personal pronoun?” (Who, I always wondered, had ever told them not to?) and “Can I borrow a pen?” I wasn’t expecting an inquiry on my personal beliefs on the existence of fairies, though the young man looked harmless enough. Like so many of the new freshman class, he was tall, blond, and athletically fit in his snug Alpha Delta Chi T-shirt. He had the face of an angel—but that, I had learned recently, wasn’t necessarily a good sign.

I looked down at my roster to remind myself of the student’s name. “Good question, Mr. Sinclair. What I believe is that fairy tales are culturally important, provide an essential outlet for a child’s imagination, and by studying them we gain a critical understanding of Western literature. I believe very much in the value of fairy tales.”

“But do you believe that the things that happen in fairy tales really can happen?” he persisted. “That pumpkins turn into carriages and frogs turn into princes? Do you believe in fairies?”

The kid was definitely a plant. What eighteen-year-old would ask that question with a straight face? Of course, it would be easiest just to say that I didn’t believe in fairies, but somehow I couldn’t. I’d feel as if I were killing Tinker Bell.

“I believe, Mr. Sinclair, that if I spend any more time on your question I’ll be shortchanging the class of their thirty-five minutes allotted by the English department to complete the diagnostic essay,” I said. “Why don’t we put your question off to another day?”

Adam Sinclair merely smiled and shrugged, then picked up his pen and began to write, as did the twenty-three other young people in the class. I breathed a sigh of relief and picked up the extra copies of the syllabus I’d handed out. As I shuffled the papers, I noticed that my hands were shaking. Sinclair’s question had disturbed me; maybe it was a mistake to teach this class. I’d thought at first it was a tamer choice than my usual “Sex Lives of Demon Lovers” or “Kick-Ass Vampire Slayers” classes, but I was beginning to wonder if teaching a class on fairy tales at the new Fairwick College wasn’t akin to running up a red flag.

I retreated behind the podium and made myself look busy. Usually I wrote along with my students to model the assignment, but when I picked up my pen and asked myself what my favorite fairy tale was, I nearly laughed out loud. Then I started to scribble furiously.

There once was a young woman who came to a town where fairies and witches lived together. She moved into an old house covered with honeysuckle vines. The house was inhabited by a prince who had been turned into a demon by the Fairy Queen; he was cursed to a demon fate until someone loved him. The woman almost fell in love with him, but when she realized he was a demon, she sent him away. He returned in disguise, and, although she didn’t recognize him, she fell in love with him at the exact moment he was slain by an evil monster.

A drop splatted on my paper, smearing the ink. I quickly wiped the tear away and glanced up, hoping no one had noticed. Most of my students were hard at work, their heads bent over their blue books—all except for Nicky Ballard, who was watching me with concern. I smiled at Nicky and mouthed, “Allergies.”

I looked back down at my paper and reread what I had written. What a sad fairy tale, I thought. The heroine fails twice—shouldn’t she get a third chance? But there wasn’t going to be another chance. I crumpled up the paper and tossed it in the garbage can.

“Time’s up,” I said, then checked the clock and saw there were ten minutes left to the class. Crap. The last thing I felt like doing right now was leading a discussion. Adam Sinclair might start in again, asking if I believed in fairies. “Would anyone like to read their essay aloud?” I asked, without much hope of getting a volunteer. But then Nicky Ballard—bless her—raised her hand.

I called on the raven-haired sophomore and she began to read.

“The story I loved when I was little was called Tam Lin . . .”

I almost stopped her. Although it had been my favorite fairy tale when I was a child, it was the last story I wanted to hear right now. My parents had often told it to me, and after they died, I imagined a fairy-tale prince had come to tell me the story. Except it turned out he wasn’t really imaginary.

“I love Tam Lin,” Nicky continued, “because the heroine, Jennet Carter, doesn’t listen to what other people tell her. Everyone tells her not to go to the Greenwood, an enchanted forest filled with boggles and haunts, but she goes because the ruins of her family’s castle, Carterhaugh, are there, and she’s determined to reclaim it.”

Ah, I thought, no wonder Nicky liked this story. The Ballards had once been rich and powerful but had fallen on hard times. In fact, they had been cursed. Generations of Ballard women had squandered their beauty and intelligence on alcohol, drugs, and teenage pregnancies. Nicky would have gone down the same road, but I’d discovered last spring that it was my family who had cursed hers. I was able to lift the curse, but Nicky still lived in a decaying mansion with her ailing grandmother and alcoholic mother. No doubt she dreamed of reclaiming her family’s honor as Jennet Carter did.

“So she goes through the enchanted Greenwood to Carterhaugh and meets Tam Lin, a handsome young man, who tells her he was kidnapped by the Fairy Queen seven years ago and tonight, on Halloween, the fairies are going to pay their tithe to hell by sacrificing him. Then he tells her how she can save him.”

At least Jennet received clear instructions, I thought enviously. But then, Jennet didn’t waste time worrying about whether or not she really loved Tam Lin. Not like some people I knew . . .

“She goes to the crossroads at midnight and waits for the fairy host. They ride by on horses decked out in gold and silver, with goblins and bogeys leering and shrieking, but Jennet doesn’t run. She stands fast until she sees Tam Lin, wearing only one glove—”

“Like Michael Jackson,” someone sniggered. Nicky glared at the interruption but kept on going. Good girl, I thought. She’d grown up a lot during her summer abroad.

“—and one hand bare, the sign he’d told Jennet to watch for. She pulled him down from his horse and he immediately turned into a fierce lion, but Jennet wouldn’t let him go. He’d told her the Fairy Queen would make him change shape. Next he turned into a writhing snake—”

“Oooh . . .” a girl began, but Nicky and I both glared her into silence.

“Still Jennet held fast to her Tam Lin. Next he became a burning brand, but Jennet didn’t let go. When he was again Tam Lin, she wrapped him in her green mantle. The Fairy Queen was really pissed.”

A few students laughed, but I didn’t check them. They were with Nicky now. Even though it was time to go, they weren’t collecting their books or texting on their phones. The story had caught their attention.

“ ‘If I had known you would leave me for a human girl,’ the Fairy Queen said, ‘I would have plucked out your eyes and heart and replaced them with eyes and heart of wood.’ But Jennet held fast to Tam Lin, and there was nothing the Fairy Queen could do. She rode away to fairyland, and Jennet and Tam Lin married and lived in Carterhaugh in the enchanted Greenwood. I like this story because it’s the girl who saves the boy and also . . .” Nicky paused, swallowed, and looked up at me. “Because it shows that sometimes you have to believe in someone even if they look like a monster. Because people can change.”

There was a murmur of assent from a couple of upperclassmen, and one girl, Flonia Rugova, who had roomed with Nicky last year, reached over and squeezed her hand. I imagined Flonia knew, as I did, that Nicky’s mother, Jaycee Ballard, had joined A.A. and was trying to sober up. “Absolutely,” Flonia said. “People can change.”

“That was lovely, Nicky,” I said. “I think Nicky has answered Adam’s question for me. That’s the kind of fairy tale I believe in, Mr. Sinclair. The kind that gives us the courage to persevere through hardship and fight for what we believe in. Think about Nicky’s story while you’re reading the Bettelheim chapter for the next class.”

With only ten minutes to make it to their next class, most of the students took off in a panicked stampede. But Nicky lingered behind and fell into step beside me as I left Fraser Hall.

“I don’t want you to be late for your next class, Nicky. You know the new administration has a zero-tolerance policy on tardiness.”

“I’m free next period,” Nicky said. “What’s up with all the new rules, anyway? Fairwick College is totally changed.”

I sighed. “I know. It’s the new administration. They have a rather different . . . um . . . pedagogical philosophy.”

“No kidding! We’ve got curfews! And mandatory dorm meetings. I get, like, twenty emails a day from campus security—and those new security guards are downright creepy.” Nicky lowered her voice as we passed one of the new guards, a short, broad-shouldered man in a green jumpsuit. He leered at Nicky in an unsavory manner. “I don’t mean to be mean, but they look like trolls.”

Now that Nicky mentioned it, they did indeed. I wondered . . . “Stay away from them,” I told her. “If you have a problem, call me or Professor Delmarco or Professor Lilly.”

“Thank God you guys are still here, but so many of my favorite teachers are gone. I was going to take Stones for Poets with Professor Van der Aart, but he’s gone on a sabbatical. Now I have to take two required science classes and a class on Milton.”

I let out an involuntary groan. I’d barely been able to get through Paradise Lost in grad school; the new requirement for the entire student body to read it seemed crazy. “Some of the faculty are trying to . . . er . . . persuade the administration to change their policies. We’re meeting this evening to go over our . . . er . . . strategies.”

“I’m sure you’re doing everything you can, Professor McFay. I don’t mean to complain. It’s just that everything is so different now—even the students. Like that Adam Sinclair and his frat brothers. I mean, one of the things I liked about Fairwick was that it didn’t have a big Greek life like the state schools. But this new fraternity . . . well, look at this flyer I got in my mailbox this morning.”

Nicky took out a piece of bright magenta paper and unfolded it. Beneath three large Greek letters—Alpha, Delta, Chi—was a crude drawing of a muscular man in a toga. Hey, ladies! the speech bubble by his head announced. It’s never too early to try out your Halloween costumes. Whether you’re going this year as a slutty vampire, a slutty cat, or just a total slut, we invite you . . .

“Ew,” I said, taking the offensive page from her. “That’s gross—and completely inappropriate. I’m on my way to the dean’s office right now with a list of complaints. I’ll add this invitation to them.”

Nicky shrugged. “Don’t get yourself in trouble over it. No one I know is going. It’s just that those Alphas act like they own the campus—”

Nicky’s next words were drowned out by the pealing of bells. Loud, obnoxious bells ringing the quarter hour. “And that’s another thing,” she yelled over the clanging. “Those bells! They wake us up at the crack of dawn!”

“It’s on my list,” I told Nicky, offering her a wan smile. We’d reached Main Hall. The Gothic gray stone exterior had always given me a sense of calm and stability, but now that it housed the new dean it felt like a brooding, unassailable castle right out of Dracula.

“I feel better knowing you’re doing something,” Nicky said. “But I didn’t follow you only to complain. I wanted to talk to you about my research paper.”

“Let me guess, you want to do it on Tam Lin.”

“Well, not exactly. You see, the thing is, I’m actually feeling a little . . . well, disenchanted with fairy tales these days.”

“Oh,” I said, unable to hide my disappointment. “You’re not dropping the class, are you?”

“Oh, no! You’re my favorite teacher, Professor! It’s just . . . well, when I was in Scotland this summer I came across this collection of fairy tales and ballads that were collected by a woman folklorist named Mary McGowan—there’s a ballad in it that’s a sort of variation on Tam Lin. I wrote about it in my essay, but I didn’t read that part in class. Anyway, I thought it was interesting that the stories were collected by a woman folklorist and I’d like to find out more about her . . . like what made her interested in folktales and how she came to write about them. I thought it would be interesting to write about a real person instead of just writing about fairy tales.”

“Hmm . . . I’ve never heard of her. It sounds like a fascinating topic, Nicky. Of course you can write about that. I look forward to seeing what you dig up.”

“Thanks, Professor. And I hope you don’t mind what I said about fairy tales. I know they’re your thing.”

“It’s perfectly all right, Nicky,” I told her as I turned to go into Main Hall. “There are days lately when I wish I had specialized in something a little more practical.”

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The Angel Stone 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book is the greatest ending to the trillogy! If you are looking for a true fairytale ending. You will love this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
golfpaulig More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this 3-book xeries. Waz sorry to see it end. Really like Miss Dark's writing style.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a GREAT imagination Ms. Dark has! Absolutely brilliant ending to a wonderful romance that stands the test of time! This was a great trilogy. I do suppose you could read this by itself, as a stand alone novel, as Ms. Dark does a wonderful job of filling a reader in on past story lines. But you would truly miss how this love story grows. I recommend this to anyone that loves a good Paranormal romance. Ms. Dark has a beautiful way with words. Warning: Not a book for the young teen. Some scenes get pretty HOT, so please be warned. That being said, again, this is a GREAT romance trilogy and I recommend to anyone who likes a good "fairy tale." Ms. Dark: Thank you for many sleepless nights, as I haven't been able to put any one of theese books down once I start them! Cannot wait to see what you have in store for us next! --SPeeD
Bitten-By-Love-Reviews More than 1 year ago
I didn't realize that it was the third in a series. While I wish I had had the chance to read the first two before reading this one, overall that didn't detract from the rating I gave it. The book did fine as a stand alone novel because it gave enough background to be complete, but not to much to make it boring. In the third piece of this trilogy we see the town banding together to defend itself and stand up for what the town of Fairwick embodies. And it sure embodies a lot! Every imaginable type of mythical/paranormal creature calls this town it’s home and together they must figure out a way to regain a town and college lost to those who would control it and banish/destroy all the others. I loved that there was so many different paranormal creatures, I feel that this is what makes this series a must read. The writing is beautiful and I love the wonderful small town setting. There is a lot of mythology tied into this story. The faerie tale explored in the most depth is that of Tam Lin.The characters are vivid and emotionally charged, which creates the alternate reality for which many authors only strive. The main character, Cailleach McFay, is strong, brave, and loves with her full heart. She is a hero worthy of the classic epics. The other characters are just as alive as Cailleach, staying with readers even after the tale is finished. Cailleach is not the only character at the forefront, but it is her story and she is telling it. I have to start off by saying that this was the first time I have read a folklore/fantasy and wow was I impressed. I really wish I had read book 1&2 first but that's okay. I will be reading them soon. Juliet Dark/ Carol Goodman has written a book that is fast moving,interesting & fun characters. I definitely recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JulyFlower More than 1 year ago
What a great way to wrap up this series! I didn't see it coming.
celticmaggie More than 1 year ago
I don't think I have read so many Fantasy books this year that are switch ups of the creatures. The authors all seem to have an amazing imagination to twist the powers and bonds of the characters. Juliet has done this with a few of her characters. It took me awhile to really figure it out but when I did it made the story more interesting. I guess it would be boring if the Fey, Gargoyles and Nephilims all got along well with each other. Be prepared for Doorkeepers, Trows, an Angel Stone and other beings. Juliet did a good job on this book. Give it a try.
CherylM-M More than 1 year ago
This is the third in the Fairwick series. It can be read as a stand-alone novel but I would recommend reading the first two to get more insight into the story.The Demon Lover (Fairwick Trilogy). This book takes us back to the origins of the man who becomes the demon lover. Without revealing any spoilers it turns out he gets around a lot and that aspect of the storyline got a tad confusing and perhaps borderline incestuous. Then again maybe I got lost in the family connections, fae time travel and the overall rules of reincarnation. What can I say it happens to me all the time. The author always showers her plots with a huge amount of sub-plots. Lost doors that aren't really doors because they are gates but are actually not real gates cos the door isn't really a door. Get that? The school has been taken over by the Nephilim and various related branches of supernatural species. Unfortunately one of the fraternity houses is being run by a bunch of mysogynistic soul-sucking girl abusing scumbags and their methods of persuasion are disgusting even for mythological creatures. The main character seems to have a tiny problem when it comes to attractive males. She feels an instant attraction to anyone who winks, smiles or growls in her general direction. A little self-control wouldn't go amiss seeing as how this is why she always ends up in so much trouble. Overall it was a bouncy creative read that could do with a little more structure. I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.
Angie_Lisle More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for a review - when I requested The Angel Stone, I didn't know that it was the third book in a series. The story started slow, recapping the previous two books and reintroducing characters - which was good for me as I hadn't read The Demon Lover or The Water Witch. Once the world was properly established, the plot picked up speed. I guessed where most of the story was going before it got there, but this was a fun, quick read that I recommend for those who love paranormal/urban romance and fairy tales.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago