Title: Columba and the Cat (The Columba Chronicles Book 1)
Author: Michael B. Caffrey
Genre: fantasy, magical realism, short story
Meet Princess Columba of Illinowa. She’s a magician, a scholar, and is currently the heir to the throne…but she wants no part of it. Because she’s royalty, she’s had trouble meeting men, and she’s tired of dealing with people in search of a title rather than herself.
Into her life comes a mysterious cat. She rescues the cat, takes him into the palace, and starts having unusual dreams — dreams of a man who understands her, cares about her, and loves her. Not her title.
Unbeknownst to Columba, the cat is a shapeshifter. He, too, is royal, albeit from far away. And he’s the man of her dreams…that is, when he’s not in the form of a cat.
Then the dream-man shows up, and the cat disappears. Columba must decide whether or not to believe in her dreams — and hope that somehow, the magical romance she’s found is here to stay.
Note to readers: This is a novella.
Love comes in all shapes and sizes; you’ll never know when it’ll appear. This is the premise of Columba and the Cat, a fantastic romantic fantasy short story. Meet Princess Columba, heir to the throne and a studying magician. She’s an independent princess and dreams of practicing magic at the highest level. She has no interest in the kingdom of Illinowa and doesn’t want the throne. She’ll leave that to her younger (and most annoying) brother. Love, according to Columba, is a mystery.
One day, she rescues a cat from the clutches of the royal dogs. Even though her father, the king, has banned cats from the kingdom, she takes the cat back to her quarters and takes care of him. She calls him Cat and finds him delightful company. It’s as if he understands her and a bond soon forms between them.
Princess Columba has no idea that Cat is in fact a shapeshifting royal prince from a distant land. He comes to her in dreams as himself and courts her. He loves her for what’s inside, not her title.
When the time comes, will their love overcome all or will they be destined to be star-crossed lovers?
I loved this romantic fantasy story! Michael Caffrey weaves a love story unlike any other and I was instantly captivated. He wrote this back in 2003, long before shifter romances became popular. He was certainly ahead of his time and it’s a shame he passed away in 2004.
If you’re looking for a quick romance with fantasy/magical elements, grab this story. I read it during my lunch hour and the best part is that it’s only $.99! I’m looking forward to more stories in this series.
Favorite Character: Princess Columba is one of those delightful fantasy heroines that you, the reader, immediate love. She’s intelligent, funny and goes against what’s expected of her. She’s a princess yet she more freedom than most women in her position. I loved her thrill at discovering the lost cat and keeping it in her sleeping quarters, away from her father and brother. I smiled at her pursuing magicks and the way she talks to the cat as if he can understand her. I want more from her.
“Oh my friend!” she whispered as Cat sniffed her breath and twitched his whiskers, “you won’t desert me now, will you?” ~ Columba
My Rating: 5+ stars
Buy it now:
Michael B. Caffrey (1958-2004) was many things — a writer. An editor. An artist. A contracts administrator . . . but if you asked him what was most important, he’d say none of those things.
Instead, he’d say being Barb Caffrey’s husband is all he’d ever aspired to be, granted with a twinkle in his eye and a whole lot of self-deprecating mockery besides.
In his lifetime, Michael sold only one story, this a co-written effort with his wife, Barb, in BEDLAM’S EDGE (edited by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill). After his untimely passing, other stories were sold to the Written Word Online Magazine and to e-Quill Publishing.
Two of those stories have been re-released as independent e-books here at Amazon, “A Dark and Stormy Night” and “On Westmount Station.” These are in his Joey Maverick universe, which takes place in the far-future Atlantean Union, and are works of military science fiction. (His wife, Barb, finished up the second story, and edited and smoothed out the first. But they are substantially Michael’s efforts.)
Michael wrote other things, too, including humorous fantasy, alternate history/fantasy, straight science fiction and more. But his first love was for military science fiction, which is why these stories have been the first to be re-released.
Michael was an effervescent presence, at once worldly wise and unassuming. He was a student of comparative religion, called himself a “Zen Sufi Pagan” and lived in San Francisco, California most of his adult life. He also loved to watch both professional baseball (Go, Giants!) and football (where the Joe Montana trade both irked and amused him, considering Steve Montana was waiting in the wings), was a witty and entertaining conversationalist, and was the type of guy who’d do anything for anyone without complaint.
Michael had many interests. He loved to read, especially sailing adventures (past, present and future), and thought of ships in space as just another type of sailing ship, albeit with more technology. He was a person of principle who believed the unexamined life was not worth living — but while you were examining your life, why not have as much fun as possible while you were going about all that dull and dreary stuff?
If you’re interested in reading more about Michael B. Caffrey, please stop by Barb Caffrey’s Blog anytime as she often discusses Michael’s influence on her life and career, and does her best to keep his spirit alive and well.
Social Media Links:
Twitter – https://twitter.com/BarbCaffrey
Reviewed by: Mrs. N