Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Stolen Child Brings Terrifying Fairy Tale to Life



Among the many fairy tales told to children is that of the changelings - hobgoblins who kidnap human kids and assume their identities. Everyone knows these are only stories - everyone except Henry Day, that is. You see, he was stolen by hobgoblins in 1949 when he was only 7. If you ask Henry, he will tell you changelings exist, and that they pose a much bigger danger than anyone ever imagined.

If I grabbed your attention with that little teaser, run out and grab a copy of Keith Donohue's The Stolen Child. You won't be disappointed in this absorbing tale about a man haunted by his strange past. That man is Henry Day, who begins his story with this shocking admission: "I am a changeling." From there, he spins a wild tale of a young boy who wanders into the woods one day. An ancient band of hobgoblins seizes the child, replacing him with a changeling who resembles him so closely that no one can tell the difference. His parents notice subtle changes in the boy, but nothing that can't be explained away. Having duped the humans, the changeling becomes Henry Day. Yet, he can't quite forget his past. When he meets and marries the beautiful Tess, Henry aches to tell her his secret. Knowing she won't believe him, Henry vows to forget his past and focus on the present. When he spies a hobgoblin sneaking around his home, Henry fears the worst - the changelings have come for his son. Desperate to save his child, Henry forces himself to remember everything, a choice that could destroy the life he has so carefully built. Balancing Henry's story is the tale of Aniday - the child Henry who has now morphed into a hobgoblin. Despite his years in the forest, Aniday cannot quite forget his human beginning. Fractured memories draw him to the people, an obsession that grows dangerous for his dwindling band of hobgoblins. Still, he can't keep himself away. He is determined to know the truth of his past life, determined to discover the identities of the faces that haunt his dreams. His quest takes him to Henry Day, the man who stole his life. As their lives intersect, the two must confront each other and the truths about their troubled pasts.

Unique and engaging, this novel captured me from the first paragraph. It's a magic, absorbing tale that has so many exquisite layers. On one level, it's an engrossing tale of secrets, survival and adventure. On another, it's a powerful allegory about humanity and hidden evils. The writing is incredible - luminous and beautiful. The whole novel is so haunting and real, you'll find yourself locking your windows...just in case.

2 comments:

  1. Well, you hooked me. I've just placed this one on my "hold list" at my local library. Thanks, it sounds great.

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  2. It's really unique and interesting. I loved it. Hope you like it, too. Did you ever get a hold of The True Story of Hansel and Gretel?

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