When last we visited Toby Daye, changeling ex-PI cursed to solve the murder of Evening Winterrose, friend and enemy all in one, she had acquired a hope chest, a rare and mythical artifact that could get her killed or tempt her to open it and glimpse its forbidden contents. Such a precious item cannot be left in changeling hands, so Toby desperately needs to find a place to hide it and fast.
To review or catch up on this commentary and review of Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.
Toby tracks down Tybalt, a pureblood who mutually hates her, just before dawn. Her seeking him out intrigues Tybalt, and to get her to confess her errand, he takes her to a place of utter darkness to wait out the painful dawn that normally shatters changeling illusions. When they emerge, Toby’s magic is surprisingly still intact. She explains the basics of Evening’s murder and her part in solving it and, after some bribery, convinces Tybalt to guard the hope chest in exchange for placing her in his debt. As they part, he informs her that, as a result, there will be a reckoning between them.
Reader Comments: Tybalt is a love interest.
Writer Comments: Why am I so sure Tybalt is a love interest? First, he didn’t have to bring Toby to someplace safe to wait out the dawn, but he did anyway. His excuse that he didn’t want to wait for her to regain her composure after enduring the dawn to find out why she sought him out is only that, an excuse. Toby, naturally, doesn’t see this. Also, Tybalt grabs Toby about the waist to take her into the sheltering darkness, a location that immediately suggests intimacy. He could have grabbed her hand, her arm, her shoulders, her head, for that matter, but he chose her waist, implying some sort of attraction. Even small clues like this are important. A gesture can imply volumes.
After catching some sleep, Toby goes to Shadowed Hills, where her liege, Sylvester, lives and she most dreads to return. But she finds more than her share of surprises there. Sylvester greets her with pure, childlike joy. His wife, Luna’s, face remains haunted from her ordeal when Toby failed to rescue her after she and her daughter were kidnapped. Rayseline, that daughter, has become broken and unpleasant after growing up amidst whatever her kidnappers put her through, and Connor, the man Toby once almost had a relationship with, is now married to Rayseline. Toby delivers the news of Evening’s death and asks for help.
Reader Comments: I still have no idea who murdered Evening, but I think I can say with some certainty that Toby’s relationships are going to get even more complicated. Now that she’s returned to Shadowed Hills, I have a feeling she won’t be able to truly leave it again.
Writer Comments: Just before Toby leaves Sylvester and Luna to give them a few minutes to deal with the news of Evening’s death, she impulsively embraces them both. Things like this indicate the deeper layers of a character. This particular gesture suggests that Toby views Sylvester and Luna as something like beloved parents. It also suggests that she yearns for closeness and belonging more than even she will admit. Further, it solidifies the impression that she will happily toss out all formalities and propriety for those she loves, and whatever Toby claims, she does love these two. It’s evident in her avoidance, in her respect for them, in her descriptions, and in this one embrace.