Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.
Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.
Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.
It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own.
The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle
A beautiful cover, a story inspired by Rossetti’s Goblin Market, and set in the PNW, I was all about The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle. Yet, I don’t really know how I feel about it now that I’ve finished it, other than saying it’s a true and solid three star book. The story was solid, but the pacing a little odd. Character development was good, but then weird. And the resolution we received at the end fell flat for me.
The setting and descriptions were fairly spot on. Having been to the PNW and hiking in Oregon, it felt real and authentic. I could almost smell the crisp air and feel the river and ocean mist. Ringle excelled at making this feel like a real place, but simultaneously feeling other. Perhaps it’s because these places, these peaceful out of the way woodland areas already lend themselves to your imagination, but either way, Ringle really brought out the excitement and wonder of running into fae creatures in your backyard as it were.
Character development was a bit odd. I say that only because it makes sense that it would be odd. When you have half of the 4 main characters under a spell, it’s hard to see much of a change in them. The change we see almost fades into the background with them. They exist, things happen, we’re supposed to care, but in the end, don’t really. However, when we get to the non-glamoured half, they really take off. We see how Kit is a good guy in a bad situation. We see him grow from being a loner to making all of these connections and wanting more out of life. With Livy, we see the same. From her devotion to her sister, to finally focusing on her own life, her own future. It was really great and those two were really strong characters that I would have loved to have seen more about.
Which leads me to my biggest issue with The Goblins of Bellwater: the pacing. It just didn’t click for me. There is this huge build-up at a slow and steady pace. Things are happening, slowly growing in intensity, but then suddenly, poof! Everything is fixed in a quick fifteen minute read. It felt like the set-up was more than half the story, and then the journey and resolution combined made only a quarter. I would have preferred the journey to resolving the problem to be as long as the set-up. But instead, we get a journey that happens in the blink of an eye, a resolution that happens even quicker, and then a nicely wrapped up ending. It should have taken longer.
Finally, for mentioned Rossetti’s Goblin Market, I’d feel like there’d be more to it other than hey, we’re goblins and we force people to eat fruit. I expected the tie-in to be greater or more significant. Possibly for the story to go deeper into the symbolism of the poem. For all my complaints though, The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle was an enjoyable story. I enjoyed the premise, the setting, and characters and really, only wish it was longer to more fully delve into everything.