Holly and Ivy by Selah Janel

Holly and Ivy by Selah Janel
Publisher: Mocha Memoirs Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Holiday, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (34 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

After losing her job and her boyfriend, Holly returns to her parents’ farm. Embarrassed and hopeless, she doesn’t expect to bump into a forgotten childhood friend that wasn’t supposed to exist. Ivy is not only a dryad, but she lives in the pine trees Holly’s family grows to sell at Christmas. As the old friends reconnect, Ivy not only shares her strong opinions, but gives Holly a charm that will change both their lives. As days melt into weeks and the seasons change, Holly’s life magically turns around. Christmas not only brings surprises, but a choice for the human woman. What’s more important: stability, success, and love, or keeping
a promise to an old friend?

Life doesn’t always offer easy choices. Sometimes, in fact, none of the options it comes up with seem quite right.

Holly was such an interesting protagonist. Her reactions to the unfair things that had happened to her recently only made me like this character more because of how realistically those scenes were written. I empathized with her unhappiness in the beginning and really hoped that she’d figure out a way to start her life over again. It was a lot of fun to see what she did with her life after she moved back home with her parents.

There was a plot hole that was only ever partially explained. I would have really liked to read a full explanation of how it worked so that I could understand why the author chose to write it this way. All of the other elements of this tale were irresistible to me. Had I been able to figure out why this one part of it seemed to contradict other details that the narrator had shared earlier on, I would have selected a much higher rating for it.

One of the things I appreciated the most about Ivy was how unusual her thought processes were. Her assumptions about how the world works weren’t the same as the ones Holly made at all, and that is exactly what I would expect to see from a dryad. She was definitely one of the highlights of this story for me!

I’d recommend Holly and Ivy to anyone who enjoys contemporary fantasy.

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