Title: Fate Accompli (The Water Nymph Gospels #1)
Author: Keith R. Fentonmiller
Publisher: Ellysian Press
Publication date: May 18, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
One Sentence Summary: The Petasos men are fated to make hats and the Lux women are fated to be hunted down by a mortal possessed by Apollo to be raped every generation, but Andolosia Petasos and Carlotta Lux are desperate to change their fates, to break the curses on their families, even if it means going up against the Greek gods.
Overall: Fate Accompli was a big surprise to me in many ways. This book marries Greek mythology with the Italian Renaissance and it somehow worked flawlessly together. I especially enjoyed the alternating chapters detailing the history of Greek mythology and the incorporation of Fate, though I wish she’d had a stronger part in the story. The gods were interesting, but I really enjoyed Andolosia and Carlotta. Caught within twining curses, they’re still a ton of fun and actually had a lot of chemistry despite there being no real romance subplot. Overall, a really fun read with great characters who really brought the story to life.
My first impression was that Fate Accompli read like a classic. It mirrored the speech and phrasing and felt stilted enough to be dropped into the ranks of the European classics. However, the further I read, the more crass it became. There’s some cursing, some vulgarities, and it was all peppered throughout the story. For a book that felt like a serious read, it quickly didn’t go downhill, but definitely had me revising my impression of it. By the end, I actually kind of enjoyed it and got a good smile or giggle from it.
Fate Accompli is mostly set in early 1600s Italy, but there’s a strong Greek mythology presence. I found Italy to be fascinating, old, but on the cusp of scientific revolutions. There were hints about it and characters who could accomplish remarkable feats of engineering. The world was so detailed, so perfectly set against the time and location that, whether or not it’s historically accurate, it made me feel like I was in Italy and it was easy to envision myself there during that time.
But I loved the incorporation of Greek mythology. How it all ended up fitting together was really well done and the mythology was perfectly woven throughout the book. It didn’t focus around the same characters each time, but enough of them were present in most to make it feel like something akin to a timeline, and they helped shed more light on how Greek gods and the cursed mortals’ families became tangled. The myths felt familiar, and I loved the spin Fentonmiller put on them to really breathe life into old stories. Moira (Fate) was the one who held it all together and I absolutely adored her characterization. She felt quite no-nonsense, but had hopes and dreams of her own. I just really wanted more of her.
Most of the story revolves around Andolosia. Carlotta plays a strong role, but I think the story really belongs to Andolosia. His family is cursed to make hats because an ancestor stole Hermes’ magical wishing hat, one that can take the wearer anywhere in the world. So now they’re cursed to make hats until Hermes can return from Oblivion to claim it. But Andolosia is really fascinated by contraptions and wants to create. Every Petasos boy wants more than to make hats, but Andolosia manages to meld his curse and his interest, and it all leads him to Carlotta.
Until he meets Carlotta, Andolosia actually isn’t very interesting. As a matter of fact, up until he meets her, his father, Stasi, is the most interesting and colorful character. After an accident caused by Sansone di’Medici, Stasi is severely injured, but it forces Andolosia into the family business and into a job for Sansone. Previously, Andolosia only seemed interested in creating things, making his mind seem fascinating but his character a bit of a bore. But, after being able to work his interest into millinery for Sansone, he’s introduced to Carlotta.
Carlotta is amazing. For a woman during this time period, she’s quite strong and stubborn. She sometimes overpowered Andolosia. But there were also moments where she was quieter, where she leaned on him. Their relationship was really sweet despite their rocky start. I really loved that she was, absolutely, a go-getter, and that many of the women were actually quite like her. There were very few shy, feminine female characters.
Fate Accompli is the story of two cursed mortals hoping to break the curses on their families. It was delightful to learn how their curses started and how it’s impacted them from generation to generation. My favorite parts were how the Greek gods interacted with the mortals, and all the anxiety it caused for the mortals. Of course, there were were sad bits, but Andolosia and Carlotta persevered. They really developed a truly lovely friendship, and I loved how the romance was just neatly tucked in.
Fate Accompli is the first in The Water Nymph Gospels series. From this book, I have no idea what’s to come, but I look forward to more Greek gods meddling in the lives of mortals and more mortals having to live with unfortunate curses. If this first book is any indication, I expect the rest of the series will be quite a lot of fun with intricately and perfectly woven in mythology.
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What’s your favorite Greek myth? Mine is Hades and Persephone!
Thank you to Keith R. Fentonmiller and NetGalley for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.