The Last Leprechaun
by June Calvin
Normally, my preferences in Regencies do not run to stories with paranormal elements. However, June Calvin's The Last Leprechaun is so charming, and the fantasy so believable, that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found it easy to accept the leprechaun as a real being and to become as engaged by his problems as by those of hero and heroine.
Elizabeth Longford pays a visit to John Blayne, Lord Wayneathe, a childhood friend and cousin, to ask him to find a way to prevent the destruction of the beautiful forest they had enjoyed as children. He immediately mistakes her for a lightskirt attending a rather improper party he is giving. Although disappointed by the libertine he seems to have become, Beth informs him that her father is cutting down the woods on his estate, which John will inherit. John shows no interest until Beth tells him that her father is destroying the woods in order to find and kill Shamus, the leprechaun who has lived there since being forced out of Ireland.
At first, John feels that Beth's father is simply maddened by his son's death at Waterloo. Eventually, though, John and Beth join forces in an attempt to save Shamus. They also wish to save the lovely and extensive wood, one of the few left standing in England.
This story is complex and substantial. The leprechaun is not mere comic relief, but an intelligent being trying to deal with danger and heartache. John, a man driven by unsupportable memories to escape them in riotous living, turns out to be a delicious tortured hero. Beth's loving heart involves her in working to bring peace and happiness to John, Shamus, her father, and even her prickly maid.
Calvin has a definite purpose with this novel, which carries a powerful message of the need for natural conservation. Indeed, she has dedicated the book to several conservationist organizations. By the time the reader reaches the last page of the book, she is not only pleased by having read a wonderful and exciting story, but also determined to play her part in preventing the ongoing short-sighted waste of our natural resources. The Last Leprechaun is definitely a Regency worth your money.
“What does a young lady do when her father is feverishly destroying a lovely forest--and the last leprechaun along with it?”
July 2004, 215 pages
Elizabeth Longford wants only one thing from her cousin John Blayne, Earl of Wayneathe—his help in saving the cherished forest where they played as children—and where they once caught a glimpse of a leprechaun. But Lord Wayneathe isn't the same boy who once believed in leprechauns. War has changed him for the worse, and he now lives for nothing but the most base, superficial pleasures. He will not give fate a chance to rob him of anyone else he cares for. . .
Wayneathe wants nothing to do with marriage—and certainly nothing to do with Beth Longford or her troublesome affairs. Why should he care if her father wants to cut down the woodlands for gambling money? But something about this fiery young beauty makes John feel more alive than he has in a long while. Before he knows it, he finds himself coming to Beth's aid—despite his efforts to remain indifferent. Will he decide to reform his ways…before it costs him the love of his life?