Isobel lives in a little town where it’s always summer. This is because her town is just on the border of the Faerie lands, and most of the people who live there are valued by the Fair folk because of their Craft (anything that basically involves creating something, be it building, sewing, baking, cooking, or painting), acts that the Fey are unable to perform themselves. Isobel is a very skilled portrait painter and knows just how dangerous and tricky it can be to deal with the Fey. She’s rather flummoxed when one of her patrons confides that he has recommended her services to the Autumn Prince, which would certainly increase her status massively.
Rook, the Autumn prince, has been away for a long time and in many ways behaves more politely towards the humans than a lot of the Fey. There’s absolutely an attraction between them, and Isobel wonders why Rook seems different than all the other faeries she’s ever encountered before. She figures it out shortly before she completes his portrait, and includes the human sorrow she sees in his eyes in the painting. This proves to be a dangerous mistake. Rook returns a few weeks after collecting the artwork and demands that Isobel come with him to the Autumn court to stand trial for her crime – exposing a potential weakness of his for the faerie world to see. Isobel doesn’t have much choice but to go with him, unwilling and unable to say farewell to her family.
As Isobel and Rook travel towards his court, passing through the courts of the other seasons on the way, it becomes very obvious that something is wrong and some sort of curse is on the land. They keep being hunted by malevolent faerie creatures and have to alternate between running and hiding. During their journey, Rook comes to understand that Isobel didn’t mean any harm with her painting, and he may have overreacted when abducting her. However, with the various creatures hunting them, he may not be able to return her to her home safely. The two end up at the Spring court, where it turns out its prince is someone that Isobel already knows. By this point, it’s become clear that Isobel and Rook are falling for one another – but a mortal and a faerie falling in love means certain death for both of them thanks to the ruthless laws of the Alder King (the ruler of all Faerie). Isobel needs to use her unique skills to fight the king, to save herself and her beloved.
Full review on my blog.