Title: The Sixth Wife
Author: Laura Lond
Genre: Historical fantasy (novelette/short story)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Evie Woolmore
At 7,500 words, The Sixth Wife is a long short story or a short novelette. It tells the story of Adelia, a human woman, and her elven husband Ametar, from both points of view, and has a strongly allegorical feel to it, as opposed to a fantasy one, considering the nature of ageing, death and love. A well-written story with a nice flow to it, the characters convey depth despite being simply drawn and Ms Lond includes enough description to set the scenes but not so much that the pace of the novelette slows.
But perhaps therein lies the missing 5th star for me, in that while the author has mastered the shortness of the form very effectively, I felt it didn’t quite fulfill its potential because it could have been longer. The easy charm of the two central characters and their different backgrounds left this reader wanting just that little bit more, and certainly there was capacity to do more with every aspect of the story, to show us more background, to share with us more insight into their personalities and experiences, to show rather than tell us better why there is such tension in the decision that has been made about their marriage. For two characters who loved each other so much, they seemed to keep a lot of information from each other! And I confess the ending almost disappointed me in its neatness, not least because there was scope to tell us so much more about why the solution had been kept from Ametar to begin with. But again, perhaps that was a concession to the shorter form, and it does not particularly harm the story.
Nonetheless, this is an enjoyable read and would make a great addition to a set of allegorical stories were Ms Lond to consider writing more in the same vein.