My enormous thanks to the author Evie Gaughan and publishers Urbane for a copy of The Story Collector in return for an honest review.
I’m going to be spending an evening in with Evie Gaughan to chat all about The Story Collector on 21st June as part of the book’s launch celebration, so do drop by and see what we get up to.
Published by Urbane today, 14th June 2018, The Story Collector is available for purchase here. There will be an online Twitter party to celebrate if you’d like to join in using the #TheStoryCollector.
The Story Collector
A beautiful and mysterious tale from the author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris.
Thornwood Village, 1910. Anna, a young farm girl, volunteers to help an intriguing American visitor, Harold Griffin-Krauss, translate ‘fairy stories’ from Irish to English.
But all is not as it seems and Anna soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery that threatens the future of her community and her very way of life…
Captivated by the land of myth, folklore and superstition, Sarah Harper finds herself walking in the footsteps of Harold and Anna one hundred years later, unearthing dark secrets that both enchant and unnerve.
My Review of The Story Collector
With her marriage in tatters, Sarah finds herself in Ireland and the land of the Faery Folk.
I have a confession. I’m going to be on the blog tour for The Story Collector and wasn’t actually going to review it, but then I kept seeing such positive things about it and it is so beautifully presented both inside and out that I thought I’d just have a quick look at the first few pages. Hmm. An entire day later and I had read the lot because I couldn’t put it down.
I was instantly drawn into The Story Collector because Evie Gaughan writes with such warmth so that, even though I haven’t read her other books, it felt like I was revisiting an old friend. I think it’s the attention to detail and the naturalness of the direct speech that is so captivating. I know Evie Gaughan paints as well as writes and I think that gives added depth to her writing, making for a very visual experience too as her writing is very poetic at times. In fact, she conveys all the senses so well from the sound of milk hitting a pail to the taste of recently churned butter on fresh bread. Butler’s Cottage and its surrounds felt very real to me.
The Story Collector is a cracking story. Not only is it about traditional stories, but it is a traditional story and a fabulous example at that. There’s good and evil, the real and the magical, love and hate so that the narrative resonates with a shared tradition that all readers can relate to. I loved every word of it because it took me away from the mundane world into another where there are all kinds of possibilities and yet it is all still rooted in reality and truth. This is such clever storytelling.
I thought the characters were wonderful. I preferred the sections relating to Anna and Harold because I was less familiar with their world and through them I was transported to another era where social class and superstition played much greater roles. I especially liked the echoes of loss between the two timescales and the sense of identity that both Anna and Sarah are looking for.
The Story Collector is a delightful, bewitching book. It has tradition at its heart but it is captivating and accessible to the modern reader so that it held me spellbound.
About Evie Gaughan
Evie Gaughan is the bestselling author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris.
Living on the West Coast of Ireland, which is not renowned for its sunny climate, Evie escapes from the inclement weather into a converted attic to write stories and dream about underfloor heating. Growing up in a walled medieval city, she developed her love of storytelling and all things historical. Her books tread the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly – but always with an Irish woman’s wit. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, her stories are full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell.
When not writing, she also works as an artist, creating stories on canvas.