The Changelings- My title for this book This book taps into the oft repeated stories about fairy changelings. Where the fairies steal a human child & replace them with one of their own. Although why the fairies should do this is never explained. The first time I tried to read this book I found the initial chapters so creepy, I put the book away. This time, I read on. The story is still creepy but I got hooked. I actually lived in Sheffield in 1976, and well remember how dry it was, and now the Rivelin Dams' waters shrunk. I remember The fascination of seeing the drowned villages re-appear and how creepy they looked draped in water weed and crumbling. This story leaves you with the distinct impression, that there is more to our world than the rational eye can see. Again with the ghost stor. was the mother suffering from post-partum paranoia? Or was there more?
I don’t read Horror stories much – my imagination is too wild – and I get nightmares, but this one I couldn’t put down.
And what this is really, is the battle between Good and Evil – as is common in fantasy novels, with a child/ren at the core of it. But who is really the Good? And who really the Bad? That is the stark choice that the children have to make – at an age when their brains are still very malleable and have yet got to the age of knowledge.
I found myself cheering for the boys and their defence of having a tree house – but what it did to the boys’ brains was spooky and eerie. And then there was the ‘luck’ or payment perhaps and..
I liked the style of the author and found it easy to read, clear and whilst not a short book, the story didn’t get boring. An amount of editing out of some of the scenes might of helped, but still excellent in its genre.
I got bored and stopped reading about 1/3 of the way through. I just didn’t feel the suspense and although I could sense that things were going to go downhill with Heather I just wasn’t bothered enough about the characters to read more.
I also thought that some of the characters’ way of living was frankly, unbelievable.
- Who builds and lives in a cabin with a roof and walls of corrugated iron in Colorado? I appreciate it is a cheap building material but it really loses a lot of heat and also acts as a heat sink when it is hot. One way of torturing someone is to leave them in the sun in an iron box.
And the winters are very fierce –
More than 300 inches of snow at the mountain resorts
An average of 16.5 inches of precipitation (8 at lower elevations and 23 at higher elevations)
33 percent average humidity
First snow usually arrives in September (though it usually snows somewhere in the state every month, except maybe August) so at least 8 months of the year can be considered winter (See the Official Guide to Colorado).
2. live in a trailer in the mountains. ie another form of iron box but have a greenhouse! Just imagine the amount of heating that would require…
3. Use only a wood burner for heating. Now I imagine that not everywhere has electricity but to use a wood burner you need wood – so you fell trees – again(!). And unless you replant 2 or 3 for everyone you fell – and manage the area and .. well we all know what happens when areas are de-forested.
So apart from that did i find the angels of the title? Not really. The story was light and not well developed. It lacked depth of characterisation and reality.
Harmony has had an unorthodox upbringing with a somewhat ‘hippie’ mother who does not believe in bras for young girls and has largely home schooled her. But when the story opens, Harmony’s mother is gone and she is left in the care of her mother’s boyfriend – who does not think of her as his daughter and mostly ignores her and forgets to buy food for her etc.
Mel, the aunt who rescues the girl from the sea, tries to look after Harmony, but has her hands full with 3 boys and several part-time jobs/charitable enterprises.
Each person in the family connects to other characters, so Mel’s oldest son dates the rescued girl’s – who is mute and appears to have lost her memory – psychiatric social worker.
The story moves slowly, full of the minutiae of Harmony’s life, and the everyday occurrences of the family, the characters are slowly painted in until they become vivid in their totality. And the girl found on the beach is the central pivot around which the rest of the characters and the story revolves.