Review: The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan by Steve Wiley

April 6, 2017 Review 0

Review: The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan by Steve WileyThe Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan by Steve Wiley
Published by Lavender Line Press on March 1, 2017
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 250
Source: Publisher
Sexual Content: Kissing
Reviewed by: Kate
2 Stars

Growing up and getting trapped in adult life is something that most people eventually face, but while reading this wildly imagined fairytale for adults, it is almost possible to forget the inescapable progress of time. This new novel is a touching and thought-provoking ride through nostalgia, memory and the promises of youth. The author's sharp, tongue-in-cheek style of writing, coupled with beautiful illustrations, makes the pages fly.

In Chicago, a secret L train runs through the mythical East Side. On that train, you'll find the most incredible cast of characters, including a schnapps drinking elf, a debonair fox, the most curious wind, and an exceptional girl by the name of Francesca Finnegan.

Once upon an unusual time, Francesca invited a boy named Richard aboard the secret L, for an adventure through the East Side. The night was a mad epic, complete with gravity-defying first kisses, mermaid overdoses, and princess rescues. Unfortunately for Richard, the night ended like one of those elusive dreams, forgotten the moment you wake. Now, Richard is all grown up and out of childish adventures, an adult whose life is on the verge of ruin. It will take the rediscovery of his exploits with Francesca, and a reacquaintance with the boy he once was, to save him.

Witty, humorous, and at times profound, the tone is true to its fairytale style. And like all good fairytales, it teaches a lesson - one that adult readers are sure to benefit from.

Half of the proceeds from this book are donated to Chicago Public Schools. For more information, visit

I will read nearly any story set in Chicago. This has led to great discoveries, such as the Chicagoland Vampires series. Unfortunately, THE FAIRYTALE CHICAGO OF FRANCESCA FINNEGAN was not one of the great discoveries.

A quick read, THE FAIRYTALE CHICAGO OF FRANCESCA FINNEGAN is seeped in Chicago. It comes up with alternate stories for Chicago events - such as the creation of the flag, why the Chicago River runs backwards, and what started the Chicago fire. These stories are fantastical and amusing, and likely would not be as interesting to readers who are not familiar with Chicago history or geography.

The structure of the book is strange as well, since it is told as a flashback, with intermittent chapters being the stories of the people that Rich and Francesca meet on their adventure. It is sometimes hard to determine who exactly is narrating, and that was a little frustrating, and it makes it easy to lose the flow of the story. One upside, however, are the lovely illustrations (done by Chris Cihon) after each chapter.

All in all, THE FAIRYTALE CHICAGO OF FRANCESCA FINNEGAN was a very strange book that I found hard to get engrossed in. While I didn't dislike it, it didn't hold my interest, and I sometimes found it hard to pick up again. If you're interested in fantasy set in Chicago or something a little different than your typical urban fantasy, definitely pick this one up. Otherwise, this one might not be for you.

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