Archives for folklore

Book review: The Bear and the Nightingale

An entrancing, bewildering debut. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden is heavily-influenced by Russian fairytales and steeped in winter. Snow, ice and frost are the everyday reality for the Vladimirovich family in medieval northern Russia where winter lasts many months of the year. It is a land of legend, folklore and fairytales where the people pay homage to the gods of the forest. This is the story of Vasya, a wild child who sees the gods of the forests and the spirits of the house. Then one day a priest arrives from the city to challenge the superstitions and traditions of the country folk. It is a story of winter/summer, girl/boy, countryside/city but most of all, old magic versus the church. Is Vasya a free spirit, or is she a witch? Is her behaviour refreshing and engaging, or wicked? She alone can talk to the horses which teach her to ride like a Steppe boy, exhilarating and dashing but inappropriate for a young girl. The only other person who can see the demons is Anna, Vasya’s stepmother, but whereas Vasya understands the demons, Anna fears them. She begs the priest, Father Konstantin, for prayers to banish them. But
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: The Faerie Tree

This is a touching tale of love, self-awareness and how love persists over the years. Izzy and her daughter Claire are shopping. It is just before Christmas, the streets of Winchester are crowded and the air is icy. Izzy bumps into a tramp, a homeless man, and is sure she knows him. But when she turns round, he is gone. This is the story of Izzy and Robin’s love for each other, their loss, and how they find themselves and each other again. Where does the faerie tree come into it? It is place where children leave gifts and messages for the fairies, and where the fairies leave their replies. The tree is central to this story of hope and compassion, of flawed characters, real people, finding their way out from the darkness. Beneath the faerie tree, Izzy and Robin swear eternal love to each other in 1986 but are soon after parted by circumstances. When they finally meet again, their memories of their early time together are so different: why? And whose memory is correct, whose flawed? This story combines a love story with suspense and a sprinkle of folklore. Jane Cable is turning into an author where I
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Categories: Book Love.