Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries Summary, Characters and Themes

“Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries” is a fantasy novel by Heather Fawcett. It is the first book in a series following Emily Wilde, a Cambridge professor and expert on Faerie folklore. 

The story involves her journey to a remote village to study the local Faeries, where she encounters dark magic, enchanting secrets, and unexpected friendships.


In “Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries,” the titular Emily Wilde, a brilliant but socially awkward scholar and professor at Cambridge, embarks on a research trip to the remote village of Hrafnsvik in Ljosland. 

Her mission: to complete her life’s work, the world’s first Encyclopaedia of Faerie Lore.

Emily arrives in the snowy village, eager to immerse herself in the local folklore and interact with the Hidden Ones, the elusive and mysterious faeries residing in the nearby forest. 

However, she soon discovers that the villagers are wary of outsiders and hesitant to share their knowledge.

To her dismay, Emily is followed to Hrafnsvik by Wendell Bambleby, her charming and infuriatingly handsome academic rival. 

While Emily finds Wendell’s presence disruptive, his charisma wins over the villagers, granting her access to the information she needs.

As Emily delves deeper into her research, she uncovers dark secrets about the faeries and their connection to a string of disappearances plaguing the village. 

With Wendell’s unexpected help, she embarks on a perilous journey into the heart of the forest to confront the dangerous magic lurking within.

Along the way, Emily and Wendell form an unlikely alliance, their initial animosity giving way to grudging respect and a budding romance

They must learn to trust each other and rely on their combined knowledge to navigate the treacherous faerie realm and protect the villagers from harm.

The plot of brings together elements of mystery, romance, and dark academia. It explores themes of folklore, magic, friendship, and the power of knowledge. 

The story is told through Emily’s journal entries, immersing the reader in her world and offering a unique perspective on the enchanting and sometimes terrifying world of faeries.

Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries Summary


Emily Wilde

Emily Wilde is the protagonist of the story, a brilliant but socially awkward scholar and professor at Cambridge. She is deeply passionate about faerie folklore and driven to complete her Encyclopaedia of Faeries. 

Emily is intelligent, meticulous, and dedicated to her research, often prioritizing it over social interactions or personal comfort. However, her introverted nature and lack of social skills lead to awkward encounters and misunderstandings with the villagers and even Wendell. 

Despite her initial reservations, Emily’s curiosity and determination push her to confront the dangers lurking in Hrafnsvik and uncover the truth about the faeries.

Wendell Bambleby

Wendell is Emily’s academic rival and a fellow scholar specializing in faerie lore. He is charismatic, outgoing, and possesses excellent social skills, making him a natural charmer. 

Initially, Emily finds Wendell’s presence disruptive and irritating, but his ability to connect with the villagers proves invaluable to her research. 

As they work together to solve the mysteries of Hrafnsvik, Emily discovers a softer side to Wendell and develops a romantic interest in him.

The Hidden Ones (Faeries)

The Hidden Ones are the elusive faeries inhabiting the forest near Hrafnsvik. They are depicted as both enchanting and dangerous, capable of great magic and mischief. 

The villagers have a complex relationship with the faeries, respecting their power but fearing their unpredictable nature. 

As Emily delves into the faerie lore, she uncovers a darker side to their existence, revealing the secrets behind the village’s troubles and the true nature of their magic.

The Villagers of Hrafnsvik

The villagers of Hrafnsvik are a close-knit community with deep-rooted traditions and beliefs. 

They are initially wary of outsiders like Emily and Wendell, but their hospitality and willingness to share their knowledge ultimately aid Emily in her research. The villagers’ lives are intertwined with the faeries, and they hold a wealth of knowledge about the Hidden Ones and their ways. 

Their stories and experiences provide valuable insights into the faerie world and help Emily navigate the challenges she faces in Hrafnsvik.


The Power of Knowledge and Folklore

“Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries” places a significant emphasis on the power of knowledge and folklore. 

Emily Wilde, a dedicated scholar, believes that understanding faeries and their lore is essential for peaceful coexistence with them. 

Throughout the novel, she meticulously documents faerie customs, habits, and magic, demonstrating a deep respect for their traditions and a desire to bridge the gap between the human and faerie worlds. 

The book suggests that folklore, often dismissed as mere superstition, holds valuable insights into the natural world and the hidden forces that govern it. By studying and preserving these stories, we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in the universe.

The Complexities of Human Connection

The novel delves into the complexities of human connection through the evolving relationship between Emily and Wendell Bambleby. Initially, their interactions are marked by rivalry and annoyance. 

However, as they face challenges and share experiences, they develop a deep bond based on mutual respect and admiration. Their relationship highlights the importance of overcoming initial impressions and embracing the unexpected connections that can enrich our lives. 

The book suggests that true connection can be found in the most unlikely of places, and that opening ourselves up to others can lead to personal growth and lasting friendships.

The Allure and Danger of the Unseen World

“Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries” explores the alluring yet dangerous nature of the unseen world. The faeries, though enchanting and captivating, possess a darker side, capable of trickery, malice, and even violence. 

The novel serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of venturing into the unknown without proper understanding and respect. It reminds us that the world is not always as it seems, and that even the most beautiful and seemingly harmless creatures can harbor hidden depths. 

The book encourages us to approach the unseen world with both curiosity and caution, recognizing the potential for both wonder and danger.

Embracing Individuality and Difference

The novel celebrates individuality and difference through its diverse cast of characters. Emily Wilde, with her unconventional interests and social awkwardness, challenges societal norms and embraces her unique perspective on the world. 

Similarly, the faeries, with their distinct personalities and customs, defy easy categorization and remind us of the importance of appreciating diversity. 

The book suggests that our differences are what make us special, and that embracing those differences can lead to greater understanding and acceptance. 

It encourages us to celebrate our own quirks and to appreciate the unique contributions that each individual brings to the world.