Up in the house that sits on the hill, a strange spell is brewing…
To Meridia, growing up with her father Gabriel, who vanishes daily in clouds of mist, and her bewitching mother Ravenna, the outside world is a refuge. So when as a young woman her true love Daniel offers her marriage, it seems an escape to a more straightforward existence.
Yet behind the welcoming façade of her new home lies a life of drudgery and a story even stranger than that she left behind. Aged retainers lurk in the background; swarms of bees appear at will, and of course, there’s her indomitable mother-in-law, Eva, hiding secrets that it will take Meridia years to unravel. Surrounded by seemingly unfathomable mysteries, can Meridia unlock the intrigues of the past, and thus protect her own family’s future?
This book has been described as a modern fable, which is probably a good way to look at it. It also has the feeling of a adult fairy tale, complete with lots of villainous characters. There’s a feel of Gregory Maguire and Tim Burton to the book, and yet it’s not an exact copy of those styles.
The basis of this story is actually a tale of family, and of emotion, both good and bad. Relationships are explored, and often taken to their extreme limits. There is love, hatred, and jealousy, all wrapped up in some unusual characters.
These characters and emotions are all wrapped up in a rather unusual, somewhat magical, fantasy world. For me, this struggled at the beginning to sucessfully work. The first few chapters were great, but it soon felt a little too obvious.. almost as if it was trying to hard. However, this little bump was soon over, and the world managed to entrap me. Strangely enough, I did care about the various characters, and I loved the way some of the storylines turned out.
Many of these fantasy type books are suitable for teens as well, but there are a few scenes in this ones which probably make it unsuitable for the younger ones.
Published by Headline Review
Hardback Aug 09
Paperback Dec 09
Buy at Amazon.co.uk