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Posts Tagged ‘The Story Keeper’

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** My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book and to Anne at Random Things Tours for my invite to take part in the blog tour **

Description:

From the author of THE UNSEEING comes a sizzling, period novel of folk tales, disappearances and injustice set on the Isle of Skye, sure to appeal to readers of Hannah Kent’s BURIAL RITES or Beth Underdown’s THE WITCH FINDER’S SISTER.

‘A wonderful combination of a thrilling mystery and a perfectly depicted period piece’ Sunday Mirror

Audrey Hart is on the Isle of Skye to collect the folk and fairy tales of the people and communities around her. It is 1857 and the Highland Clearances have left devastation and poverty, and a community riven by fear. The crofters are suspicious and hostile to a stranger, claiming they no longer know their fireside stories.

Then Audrey discovers the body of a young girl washed up on the beach and the crofters reveal that it is only a matter of weeks since another girl disappeared. They believe the girls are the victims of the restless dead: spirits who take the form of birds.

Initially, Audrey is sure the girls are being abducted, but as events accumulate she begins to wonder if something else is at work. Something which may be linked to the death of her own mother, many years before.

My Thoughts:

I love folklore and tales, I love historic fiction and I absolutely love Scottish settings so this book just screamed “read me!” when I found out about it.

Mazzola is adept at spinning a tale that is so wonderfully rich in characters, detail and atmosphere, if you’ve not read any of her books before, I would implore you to do so, they are exceptional!

The use of folklore and island history make for an intriguing thread to the plot, and without a doubt the attitudes and beliefs of those who grew up hearing these tales make for mysterious and exciting reading. But unfortunately for Audrey, gaining the trust of the people on the Isle of Skye proves harder than she might have imagined. Even with her position of collecting the tales, songs and myths on behalf of Miss Buchanan, she still struggles to find acceptance of the local community, relying on good words from servants and suchlike to get her into closed gatherings.

Audrey is an interesting character, who I have to admit to being slightly hesitant about initially. Initially she appeared aloof, closed off, and not someone I could really connect with. However as the story develops, Mazzola slowly brings Audrey’s story out into the open, revealing more about her and giving readers an insight into what drives her, what lead her to the Isle of Skye.

Details are an important part in any historical fiction novel and I have to say that the ones in The Story Keeper are carefully and effectively used. Readers get a clear image of the settings used in this book, the damp, the dark, the cold, the arduous journeys … it’s all so evocative and realistic. The dialogue felt natural and befitting for the period, and so when combined with the brilliantly mysterious plot, this book becomes utterly addictive reading.

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