Thursday, November 17, 2005

Winter Rose - Patricia McKillip

I happened to spot Patricia McKillip's Winter Rose in a freestanding book display at the library the other day, and having only read McKillip's The Riddle Master of Hed trilogy so far, I took the opportunity to grab it.

I can't now recall whether it was mentioned in the Child_Lit discussion of Tam Lin that took place earlier in the year, but there's a definite Tam Lin feeling to it - even down to one of the characters being called Tearle Lynn (shades of Diana Wynne Jones' Fire and Hemlock there, with her hero Tom Lynn !); it's interesting how many writers have been captivated by that ballad and have subsequently re-worked it as a novel.

Winter Rose begins in a fairly unreal manner and more or less stays there ! Faerie and the human world are interwoven throughout the book; Rois, the central protagonist, is a child of the wilds - she loves to roam barefoot through woods, and hates to be confined indoors during the winter months. Her sister Laurel appears to be the polar opposite, and yet both of them fall for the mysterious Corbett Lynn (Tearle's son) when he appears one day, apparently out of thin air, with the intention of reclaiming the derelict Lynn Hall. Neither have much luck in persuading him to explain his family's secrets, but Rois proves to see further than most...

I don't want to say any more - partly because it's difficult to put into words the intense, Otherworldly feeling that this book holds. It's as gripping as Jones' Fire and Hemlock, and both young protagonists risk a great deal in order to set free the Tam Lin character. If you enjoy Fire and Hemlock, you'll probably enjoy Winter Rose too.

1 comment:

Martin LaBar said...

I love McKillip, but I'm not sure why. You are right, her writing often creates an atmosphere that isn't the one I breathe.