What do these have in common? Single-malt whisky, Doctor Who, dragons, Northamptonshire, the Church of England. While this might sound like a round of Only Connect, the actual answer is that they are all integral aspects of Chrys Cymri’s delightful book Penny White and The Temptation of Dragons.
Penny White is the vicar of a small parish in Northamptonshire. One night she finds herself at a vehicular accident, giving last rites to a….dragon? This act of compassion is Penny’s introduction to the parallel world of fantastic creatures that exists alongside our own, a world where St George is the dragon, not the knight. Asked to take on a significant position liaising between our world and this other one, with a gryphon as her assistant, Penny accepts, to find herself not only caught up in a murder inquiry, but attracted to the ultimate bad boy, the James Dean of dragons.
Chrys Cymri writes with a deft, light hand, a fine sense of pacing, and an ear for comedy. I found myself laughing out loud many times while reading The Temptation of Dragons. But behind the light-hearted fantasy is a story about frailty, love and forgiveness. Penny has her own tragedies; she may be too dependent on her single-malt, and she’s lonely. Her gryphon companion has his demons, too. They need to work past their differences, not only to be an effective team, but to find the commonalities that bond them.
I may have been just about the ideal reader for The Temptation of Dragons. With a mother from Northamptonshire, a voracious reader of anything fantasy since childhood, an upbringing in the Church of England, and a definite fan of both single-malts and Doctor Who, the book was, for me, a perfect storm of reference points. But I doubt all those are pre-requisites to appreciating Chrys Cymri’s writing. Five well-deserved stars!
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review