An expert in the topic of Celtic and Medieval Irish History, O. R. Melling gives young adults a brief lesson in Irish folklore while enticing the imagination in The Hunter's Moon. This romantic modern day fantasy focuses on an American girl named Gwen visiting her cousin Findabhair in Ireland. Since the girls earliest years they dreamed of visiting the other world of Faerie, the land where the King and his subjects have thrived for thousands of years. Finally at 16 years old the girls decide to set out on their quest to find Faerie. As they make a plan for their mystical tour of Ireland, they decide to leave Tara, a sacred ground of ancient kings, for last. In a twist of fate, and magic, they are closer than they had originally planned and decide to go to Tara first. The girls break many rules in order to sleep one night in an ancient mound, only to find a power far beyond their expectations. In their sleep Finvarra the fairy king comes to take them away, but Findabhair is the only one who will go willingly. Gwen awakes in the morning to find her cousin gone and a strange dream fresh in her mind. In order to find her cousin, Gwen sets off on her own journey throughout the Irish countryside. Gwen is confronted with several tests Finvarra set upon her and is soon forced to be brave and strong in order to get closer to her cousin. Meeting several friends along the way, she learns to trust those with red hair, and falls in love. After many trials and tribulations, Gwen is faced with the ultimate task, one that involves pure evil. The plot moves quickly, which keeps the reader guessing whether Gwen and Findabhair will be stuck in Faerie forever, with all its glamour and beauty or remain mortals in their known world.
While the language of the book may be difficult at times, the page-turning plot will carry readers through the story. There are many Irish words and phrases, which may be confusing at first, but Melling includes a glossary and notes on the Irish language, which are very helpful. The descriptions of the landscape are beautiful and give the reader a clear vision of what the characters see. Some of the themes may be too deep for some pre-teens, but would be great for teenagers to mull over. Life vs. death, good vs. evil, how to be who you truly are, are just a few ideas the characters are constantly dealing with. And the romance mixed in is always good for the hopeless romantic. Love and fairies? Every girls dream. Best suited for those ages 12- 17, this novel is sure to please any lover of Celtic lore with a fairy twist whether young or young at heart.