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Snowfall
J. Kathleen Cheney
Amazon Digital Services, 154 pages

J. Kathleen Cheney
Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, J. Kathleen Cheney's parents actually were rocket scientists (they worked at White Sands Missile Range). After graduating with degrees in English and Marketing, J. Kathleen worked as a menswear buyer for retail department store chains before changing careers to become a teacher. She taught mathematics ranging from 7th Grade Arithmetic up to Calculus and served a brief stint as a Gifted and Talented Specialist. She has twice attended the summer Writer's Workshop at the Center for the Study of Science Fiction under the tutelage of James Gunn. In 2005 she decided to take a sabbatical from the academic world to work on writing and has since enjoyed seeing her stories published in Jim Baen's Universe, Writers of the Future, and Fantasy Magazine, among others. Her short fiction has been a finalist for both the Nebula Award and the PRISM Award.

J. Kathleen Cheney Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Snow Come to Hawk's Folly
SF Site Review: Iron Shoes

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Trent Walters

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The God Engines With Snowfall, J. Kathleen Cheney has added another tale to her award-nominated Tales from Hawk's Folly Farm series. (For other reviews of the earlier novellas, look here and here or see the author sidebar at left.) For lovers of horses, romance, and fairy, this is a reason to celebrate.

Lourdes Medina has followed her fifteen-year-old mare from Texas to buy back the horse her brother Chuy sold in order to spite her after she spurned the man he chose for her to marry. At the auction, however, she falls for a well-dressed gentleman who is bidding against her and has a more slender, red-haired woman in a dark green walking suit hanging on his arm.

She doesn't win the bid but is assured that the man will keep the mare safe. Moreover, the man she bid against, Mr. Finnegan, joins her for dinner, inviting himself and ordering for her, somewhat to her annoyance. He eventually reveals that the other woman at the auction, Diantres, is not his chosen wife-to-be, but he has to marry someone by the end of the week or, we discover, he will die.

Their relationship develops and he asks her to join him. Meanwhile, Diantres appears to have shred every stitch of clothing Lourdes has in her hotel room. This has the opposite effect intended as it only makes her more interested in Mr. Finnegan.

Cheney does an admirable job of taking an ordinary woman of her day and shaping her into a woman readers can cheer for. The first half of the tale, while engaging, does not push the series into new territory; however, the second half we explore the fairy world, and the tension of the love triangle heats up as Diantres pursues her desired husband, kidnapping him into the fairy world, so that Lourdes is forced to chase after.

Snowfall is a welcome addition to the series and will leave readers wanting more.

Copyright © 2012 Trent Walters

Trent Walters teaches science; lives in Honduras; edited poetry at Abyss & Apex; blogs science, SF, education, and literature, etc. at APB; co-instigated Mundane SF (with Geoff Ryman and Julian Todd) culminating in an issue for Interzone; studied SF writing with dozens of major writers and and editors in the field; and has published works in Daily Cabal, Electric Velocipede, Fantasy, Hadley Rille anthologies, LCRW, among others.


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