Woods-wise and free-spirited, Rois Melior is the opposite of her sensible sister, Laurel. But both Rois, who narrates, and Laurel fall under the spell of the stranger who enters their world. Decades ago, according to village gossip, Tearle Lynn murdered his father and mysteriously disappeared. Now Tearle's son, Corbet, has come home to rebuild crumbling Lynn Hall. Despite her attraction to Corbet, Rois is warned by her otherworldly senses that he is not what he seems. As Laurel falls hard for Corbet, Rois searches for the truth about the Lynns, but the answers she finds lead only to more questions. When Corbet disappears, Laurel begins to sicken and fade. To save her sister as well as Corbet, Rois will have to come to terms with the secret of her own changeling identity. The pace here is deliberate and sure, with no false steps; the writing is richly textured and evocative. McKillip (The Book of Atrix Wolf, and winner in 1975 of a World Fantasy Award for her novel The Forgotten Beasts of Eld) weaves a dense web of desire and longing, human love and inhuman need.
For whatever reason, I just couldn't get into this book. I've liked other books by this author, so I have no clue why this one didn't draw me in like previous ones have. Oh well, time to give up and move onto something else. Hopefully whoever gets it next enjoys it more!
The language alone is enough to recommend this book. Difficult to describe, a very unique story. It is moody, etherial, mystical.
This is a retelling of the ballad "Tam Lin." Honestly, I can't say I was really drawn into the story - though I did really feel for the protagonist - but the writing is so poetic and beautiful, I couldn't help but enjoy reading it, and I now hope to read more of the author's work.
McKillip is one of my favorite authors: she has an unrivalled ability to take a seemingly simple story and invest it with a beauty of language and depth of meaning seen in few books. Her fairytales are for adults, as well as younger people (as such stories were originally meant to be); she stays true to the heart and soul of this most enduring and significant form of tale-telling.
This book is based on the legend of Tam Lin, with a bit of Andersens Snow Queen thrown into the mix
Set in a timeless rural village, two sisters: wild and irresponsible Rois and the stable, engaged Laurel, are both fascinated by a young man recently arrived in town. Corbet is heir to the tumbledown hall outside of the village, but he is surrounded by rumors of a curse: his father is said to have murdered his grandfather and mysteriously fled town. Now the curse is suspected to have settled on Corbet is he doomed to repeat the past? What really did happen, all those years ago?
Rois is determined to find out the truth about Corbet but in doing so she may find more than she bargained for. The woods that Rois has always loved seems filled with some cruel and bitter otherworldly presence, as secrets and obsession threaten to lead both sisters on a path to destruction.
The story is simply told, and not long, but it has an emotional truthfulness that is not easy to come by. It meshes this world with that of faerie (?) in a masterful - and believable - way.