The art of storytelling and the power of a mother’s love imbue this feminist fantasy novel—a contemporary riff on the tale of the frog prince
Once upon a time there was a middle-aged woman whose husband dumped her the month after their twentieth anniversary . . .
Divorced, overweight Buffy Murphy is not a happy camper. One April afternoon, she walks into the woods . . . and meets a talking bullfrog. He asks her to kiss him so he can transform back into his princely self. This being modern-day Pennsylvania, Buffy figures she’s better off with a talking amphibian than a cheating husband, so she takes him home. The fun really starts when her rebellious teenage daughter, Emily, kisses him.
Suddenly, Emily and her handsome prince have vanished into the land of Fair Peril, an enchanted realm that can only be accessed through a portal in the local mall. Aided by a gay librarian named LeeVon and hindered by her fairy-godmother-in-law, Fay, Buffy shuttles back and forth between the real world and Fair Peril. Does Emily really want to be rescued, or does she just need someone to love her? It’s up to Buffy to figure out the key to reclaiming her daughter—and maybe herself, as well.
Like Springer's earlier book, Larque on the Wing, this is an eccentric, charming fantasy that combines fairy tale with a smack of satire. On the first anniversary of her divorce, storyteller Buffy Murphy heads to the woods for some well-deserved solitude and creative inspiration. What she never imagined is that this inspiration would come in the shape of a talking frog who claims to be Prince Adamus d'Aurca. All he needs is a kiss, he says, and the curse he received from the queen of Fair Peril will be broken. Buffy has no intention of kissing a frog, but sees great storytelling possibilities, so she takes him home. To Buffy's dismay, her teenage daughter Emily kisses Adamus, turning him into a beautiful prince. The two then run off to Fair Peril--a land accessed through, of all places, the local mall. What follows is a rollicking, outrageous modern tale of make-believe as Buffy and her friend, a gay librarian named Levon, travel back and forth between the real world and Fair Peril to save Emily from the jealous queen. Storytelling, Buffy soon discovers, is the key to power in Fair Peril, a power that may retrieve her daughter and her own sense of self. Springer has created a hilarious blend of feminism and fantasy in this heartfelt story of the power of a mother's love.