Author: Graham Joyce, 2012.
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy. Folklore and Magic. Mental Health.
Other Details: Hardback. 420 pages.
During the twenty years following 15-year-old Tara Martin's disappearance from a small Leicestershire town, her parents and brother have lived in unspoken denial of the fact that with no word from her that she was most likely dead. Then on Christmas Day the Martin's doorbell rings and there stands a dishevelled Tara. She tells them stories of her world travels though something about her account doesn't quite hang together. In addition, she hardly looks a day older than when she disappeared. While their parents are delighted to have their lost daughter back, Peter is uneasy as his sister has a haunted otherworld quality to her. Then she reveals an incredible tale of how she had been spirited away by a handsome man riding a white horse to a strange land.
Taking its inspiration from abduction tales such as Thomas the Rhymer and Tam Lin, this novel enchanted me from beginning to end and I found myself marvelling at Graham Joyce's skill as a story-teller and his ability to capture that sense of the 'otherness' that can be found in certain places in the English landscape. I certainly have visited sites not that far from the setting of this novel, which evoke that sense of how easy it might be to step into another world.
His story is elegant and mysterious yet does not compromise. He weaves third person chapters set in the present day with first-person accounts of the past allowing events to unfold dramatically. I loved it enough to buy my own copy though then realised that the library's copy had been a limited edition containing additional material on the novel's inspiration and an extra short story. I rather wished I had known this in advance and sourced one of those, even if second-hand.
Some Kind of Fairy Tale - first two chapters
Note: I hit my 150 book goal early this year, though will keep on reading through December 31st.