m/m romance

Book Review: R. Cooper’s “A Little Familiar” (2015)

26862609Reading A Little Familiar is like curling up on an armchair with a fluffy blanket and drinking a warm, sweet cup of tea. It’s the kind of book that’s best read on a rainy, lazy day. It will leave you feeling contentedly blissed-out and at ease with the world. …or, at least, that’s how I felt when I read it!

Cooper’s book is unapologetically domestic, taking place almost entirely within Piotr’s home- and a cosy, warm place it is! An apple orchard out the back, a wooden porch covered in cats, fresh bread and muffins in the oven- it’s utterly charming. And the characters are just as charming: silent, stalwart, steadfast Piotr and quick, bright, glittering Bartleby. As much as poor Bartleby’s name irked me, that character himself was delightful- all sparking, bold, gender-fluidity. The chemistry between them is fantastic, with the two characters sparking against each other from the very beginning. There’s no mystery here: it’s clear what will happen, and when it does you’ll enjoy it. A lot.

In short: if you like your romances tinged with magic (non-metaphorical magic) and fated inevitability, then this book is for you. If reading about characters harvesting fruit and vegetables, baking, and falling in love while doing so is your thing, then this book is for you. And if you think you’d enjoy those characters giving into their, ahem, desires in the kitchen during a rainstorm, then yes, this is the book for you.

This isn’t a perfect book. My internal editor was itching to get my hands on the intermittent awkward phrasing and the unnecessarily excessive description. The dialogue was a little stilted at times. But A Little Familiar isn’t pretending to be anything other than what it is: a short, sweet, good read. It won’t be for everyone, but there’s plenty to love here, and I definitely enjoyed it a lot!

{Summary from Amazon.com:}
A powerful witch, Piotr Russell has resigned himself to loneliness, because ordinary humans can’t know what he is, and other witches are intimidated by his abilities. Generations of Russells have lived and died with only their familiars at their side. The presence of a friendly familiar is enough to keep even the loneliest witch sane, and yet Piotr deliberately hasn’t chosen one. He forces himself to keep busy instead, but the emptiness of his house haunts him even more the spirit of Great-Great-Aunt Elysia in the parlor. With Samhain and Halloween approaching, he’ll have much to do, and knowing that, his concerned coven seizes the chance to intervene and sends help to his door in the form of Bartleby Dorchester.

The rarest of rare jewels, Bartleby is a human familiar: a witch with no magic of his own, and a desire to find a strong witch to help and serve. In particular, he desires to help and serve Piotr, and everything in Piotr wants to let him. Bartleby was meant to be his familiar; Piotr knows it as surely as he knows when it will rain or when the apples in his garden will ripen. But what Piotr wants from Bartleby, all he’s ever wanted, is for Bartleby to love him, something he thinks is impossible.


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