Author: Steve Wiley
Rating: 4 stars
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.
“Did you know most anything that matters in this city was built by magic before it was built by men? Of course you didn’t. This city is different from other cities. The true history of it is unpublished. Lucky for you, I know it all by heart.”
~ Francesca Finnegan
In Chicago, a secret L train runs through the mythical East Side of the city. On that train, you’ll find a house-cat conductor, an alcoholic elf, a queen of the last city farm, the most curious wind, and an exceptional girl by the name of Francesca Finnegan.
When we first encounter Richard K. Lyons, he is a man who has long forgotten the one night, when he was still a boy called Rich, when Francesca invited him aboard the secret L for an adventure though the East Side. The night was a mad epic, complete with gravity-defying first kisses, mermaid overdoses, and princess rescues. Unfortunately for Rich, the night ended like one of those elusive dreams forgotten the moment you wake. Now, Rich is all grown up and out of childish adventures, an adult whose life is on the verge of ruin. It will take the rediscovery of his exploits with Francesca, and a reacquaintance with the boy he once was, to save him.
The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan is a truly outstanding read. It’s hard to review it, because it’s not just one genre, and it’s not just one story – it transcends both, becoming more than just a fantasy book, more than just the story of one man and the strange girl he met on a secret L train many years ago. It goes beyond that, way beyond, and combines myth and magic and mystery and fantasy in a tale with otherworldly qualities.
Richard K. Lyons has long forgotten the magical night he spent as a boy on the secret L train, an epic night with adventures beyond his wildest dreams. But now Rich has become Richard, a grown up man, an adult whose life is on the verge of ruin. He’s forgotten everything that ever meant something to him – he’s forgotten how to be happy, how to truly feel joy (a rather accurate reflection of a lot of people nowadays, if you ask me).
Another night with Francesca, another night on that secret L train, might take him back to the boy he once was, to the joy he once felt.
The author does a good job describing the mystical creatures Richard encounters on the magical east side of Chicago. It’s a whimsical, fun, humorous tale that can make one wonder whatever happens to the magic of childhood. An enjoyable book that I would recommend to anyone who loves something a little different.