Review published on September 1, 2017.
This is a delightful short book by Joanne M. Harris. It covers the story of an unnamed girl, from the travelling folk, who lives alone in the forest. By chance she comes across a young man on a horse one day and quickly falls in love with this nobleman. This is a first love, and an intense one for both of them, but the rich man must marry an equal, and, quickly, circumstances force them apart.
Our unnamed heroine, once wronged, seeks revenge and through spells, witchcraft and help from wild animals, plots to bring about the young man’s downfall.
I really did enjoy this book. It’s a whimsical story with a gothic side that brings in different aspects of the unnamed girl’s journey, whether it be disguising herself as a vixen, wolf, hare, rat or weeping willow. The descriptions take the reader every which way, up into the skies and sweeping through the fields and forest to the castle where William lives. Her only allies are the wild animals, and the hawthorn, a wise old woman.
Each chapter begins with a month and an old folk poem or rhyme which further enhanced the seasons mentioned, whether it be the cold winter’s snow or All Hallow’s Eve, through to midsummer.
This is a completely new type of story for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the naivete of the young girl at the start and the way love totally consumes her and the way the story slowly tilts to become a much darker, mysterious read. We see the young girl develop into a different, stronger person who defies those around her and we are taken on a strange and eerie journey with her.
Magical prose and a fairy tale gone wrong, I absolutely loved this. An easy read which will take you hours but transport you on an enchanting journey for the entire time. Highly recommended.
Kirsty MacKenzie 5/5
A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M. Harris
Gollancz 9781473222182 hbk Oct 2017
Wychwood by George Mann