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Lady Cottington's Fairy Album
Reviewed by Peggy Hailey, © 2002

Format: Book
By:   Brian Froud
Genre:   Fantasy
Released:   September 2002
Review Date:   September 28, 2002
Audience Rating:   PG
RevSF Rating:   9/10 (What Is This?)
Way back in 1994 Brian Froud and Terry Jones got together and created Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book, which was an immediate hit (and a huge bestseller). Their faux-Victorian book of various smashed, crushed, and smooshed fairies was a delight ­ wonderful pictures by Froud and hysterical text by Jones. A Pressed Fairy Journal followed in 1996, and then both went out of print and became scarcer than hen’s teeth. A paperback version of the original book was released in 2001 and it garnered a whole new set of fans. And now, at last, Lady Cottington is back and it’s well worth the wait.

The original book was a lark, with Froud’s hilarious pictures highlighting Jones’s tale of a VERY proper Victorian lady beset by naughty fairies. This book has the same antic artwork, and is undeniably funny in places, but it’s something more, too. The book purports to be a newly discovered photo album by Angelica Cottington’s older sister Euphemia (who is referred to just once, as Effie, in the original book) with later commentary by Angelica. Euphemia’s story and photos unfold on the left side of the book; Angelica’s commentary and fairy victims appear on the right. The two stories come together in a letter at the end which we get to see and which Angelica presumably did not and the effect is surprising and poignant and leads you to think about this book long after it has ended. The funny stuff I expected; the other stuff I didn’t, and the book is much stronger than you might expect because of it.

Froud has pulled off the near impossible: a sequel that not only equals the original, but surpasses it. The packaging is gorgeous, from the textured cover to the beautiful endpapers. The artwork, both the photos and the drawings, is first-rate but the true heart of this book is the story, which manages to amuse and surprise in equal measure.
Revolution SF Books Editor Peggy Hailey thinks fairies are cool, except for that little beeyotch Tinkerbell.

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