Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Unseelie Brothers, Ltd., by Fran Wilde

Uncanny Magazine, May 2021

The Unseelie Brothers, Ltd., are the fashionable dressmakers everyone wants a dress from--and the men their evening wear, too. Unfortunately for those hopes, the Unseelie Brothers are rarely around. As in, not every decade.

When all the fashionable ladies' phones light up with a message announcing the return of the Unseelie Brothers, they all rush to locate where the venerable old shop is now. Not all will be able to find the shop. Not all who do will gain admittance.

Vanessa Saunders was one of the privileged few years ago, when she and her sister Serena wore Unseelie Brothers dresses to a ball, and met their husbands. Vanessa's husband was and is wealthy and socially prominent. Serena's, Sam Sebastian, was working the event as a busboy. 

Serena and Sam evaded all precautions, and were soon married quietly at the courthouse. When their daughter, Sera, was born, it was a scandal. Then Serena disappeared, her dress vanished, too, and Aunt Vanessa took control of Sera. Sera will not have a season; she's studying fashion design. But it's Sera who spots the Unseelie Brothers' shop, and events spiral out of Vanessa's control.

I don't want to give any spoilers, and it's hard to avoid at this point, but Sam Sebastian may not have money and connections, but he gives his daughter very good advice. Sera herself is smarter and tougher than she realizes, and also a loyal and good friend. It's a lovely story, with twists and surprises.


I received this story as part of the 2022 Hugo Awards Packet, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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