Sunday, November 15, 2020

Holly Wade Matter's Damned Pretty Things


 Aqueduct Press is pleased to announce the release of Damned Pretty Things, a debut novel by Holly Wade Matter, in both print and e-book editions. You can purchase it now from Aqueduct Press at

Fortune is an itinerant musician without a past who braids memories into her hair. Maud is a sheltered small-town girl and an unwitting heir to the notorious McBride family magic. The two young women meet when Fortune is commissioned to bring Maud to a rich man whose grandson she cursed. United by their love of music and their hunger for the road, Fortune and Maud form a friendship…one that is threatened not only by Fortune’s mission but also by their mutual desire for a man called Lightning. 



Advance Praise

“Sweet as vanishing dreams, tender to the touch as new memories, wise as nursery rhymes, tasty as blueberry pancakes, Holly Wade Matter's Damned Pretty Things is a wondrous redemption tale of the triumph of love and friendship over pain and difference."
 —Nisi Shawl, author of Everfair and Filter House

"Damned Pretty Things is beautiful and wise, haunted and haunting. Sui generis. Brilliant. Enjoy."
 —Cynthia Ward, author of the Blood-Thirsty Agent series 




This is a road trip story and a coming of age story and a love story and a buddy story and a fantasy. Two women set out on a trip involving a cursed family and other wonders, and they're pretty magical themselves, although in different ways. They quickly become friends, but that is in jeopardy when they both fall in love with the same man. It is primarily a novel of character, of course, given the premise, and it delivers two strongly likeable people whose world is enhanced by a good deal of subtle detail about the people they meet and the things that they see. I had never heard of the author before, but this was a very pleasant surprise, and I have no doubt we will hear of her again. The ending is bitter sweet.  
  —Critical Mass, Don D'Ammassa

Down-on-her-luck traveling bard Fortune meets the devil on the road and sells her soul for a magical guitar and a fast car. Well, sells her soul and her memories, though she didn’t really consent to that last part.

She travels from town to town, trying to scrounge enough money to buy food and maybe a decent place to sleep. Itinerant and listless and searching for her past, when she meets a strange old man with demands that Fortune deliver him a girl named Maud, Fortune accepts. How can she not, when he offers to pay off her debt to the devil once Maud is in his hands?

....Mystery and danger and friendship weave together like the ‘memories’ in Fortune’s hair. It’s sweet, and creepy, and funny, and wholesome, and in a summer of COVID, makes for a great road trip book (for the road trips none of us get to have right now).  (Read the whole review)
  — J.S. Fields, November, 2020