Trolls in the Hamptons (Willow Tate #1) by Celia Jerome
Publisher: DAW (Penguin/Nov. 2010)
Willow Tate Series
Willow Tate is a graphic novelist who earns enough money at her craft to keep her rent-controlled Manhattan apartment and still put food in the fridge. But when she decides to write about a ten-foot-tall troll who’s a superhero, one suddenly appears, causing mayhem in Manhattan.
When no one else can see the stony red giant, Willy thinks she’s gone crazy, until she meets Agent Grant from the Department of Unexplained Events. According to him, Willy has managed to break ages-old cosmic laws that could destroy the Earth as we know it. Now she has to help him save the world, rescue a little boy, and stop a murdering kidnapper who wants to use the power of a little village in the Hamptons to become master of the universe…
I like Willow Tate. She’s a moderately successful graphic artist and writer who’s proud of the New York rent controlled apartment that her books pay for, she’s dating a “nice” guy, and things are pretty good. Until, while sketching, she looks up to see a ten foot tall red troll rampaging down the street. Make that a troll that looks suspiciously like the one that she just drew for her new book. The only problem is, no one else can see the troll, and as she starts glimpsing the big guy (who she dubs Fafhrd) around town, wreaking his particular brand of good natured havoc, Willow starts to wonder if she might be losing her marbles. Then she gets a call from her mom with the news that her dad is ill (they’re divorced), she needs to go and care for him, and won’t Willow come home to Paumanok Harbor to dogsit until she gets back? Willow finds it impossible to say no, especially after her “nice guy” boyfriend Arlen turns out to be not-so-nice. It’s not so bad, though. After all, she gets to stay in the huge mansion being rented by a Hollywood big wig, and there’s a Jacuzzi and pool. However, there are the two poodles with sensitive stomachs and a Pomeranian with an attitude that quickly attaches itself to Willow.
All is not quiet on the homefront, however. Willow soon realizes that the people she grew up with may be more “special” then she always thought, and that she herself may have powers of her own. Powers that certain bad guys will do anything to get their hands on. Add Agent Grant, of the Department of Unexplained Events (DUE), murder, a missing boy, shake it all up, and you’ve got quite a fun cocktail. Willow must do everything she can to find the missing boy, deal with her growing attraction to hottie Agent Grant, coral a gaggle of unruly dogs, and come to terms with the presence of magic in her world. Willow is a flawed heroine, much different from your usual leather-clad, kick ass chick, and that’s ok. She’s a bit neurotic, slightly insecure, and a key part of something much bigger than herself, which would be a hard thing for anyone to adjust to. Willow’s vulnerability is what makes her so likeable. I can see myself being friends with her, totally, and her family is nothing short of fascinating. Willow and Grant’s romance is a big focus (it’s fairly light on the dirty bits, but there are couple), and I promise you’ll be crushing on him too! Trolls in the Hamptons was a breath of fresh air in between your dark UF or Fantasy reads and the humor and quirky characters will have you grinning. It’s not perfect, but then, neither am I, and I always expect a few growing pains in a first novel. I’m certainly game to spend more time with Willow Tate, Agent Grant, and the rest of the Paumanok Harbor gang! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Trolls in the Hamptons to fans of UF that are in the mood for something a little lighter and packed with charm!
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