Originally published: 26 July 2018
Author: Anna Mazzola
Published by: Tinder Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Reading dates: 2-6 January 2019
“It was the birds that woke her, their liquid voices trickling into her dreams.”
This is my second book my Anna Mazzola – I really enjoyed her first, The Unseeing so I was keen to read this when the opportunity came up, and regular readers will know that I enjoy my historical fiction!
Set in 1857 on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, Audrey Hart applies for a job with Miss Buchanen who wants to collect the folk and fairy tales of the people of Skye and write them down. Audrey is well qualified for the post being able to speak Gaelic and having a love of the regional tales from travelling there with her mother as a child. And for some reason we don’t know at the beginning, she is also keen to get away from her father and stepmother in London. The people of Skye are suspicious and hostile towards strangers – the Highland Clearances have left devastation and poverty. So discovering and recording the stories isn’t as straightforward as Audrey thought it would be. By enlisting the help of one the maids, she is able to start to gain the islanders trust.
Then Audrey discovers the body of a young girl washed up on the beach, and she soon discovers another girl has disappeared under suspicious circumstances. The people of Skye believe they are victims of sprits who take the form of birds.
Audrey is sceptical, believing the girls have been abducted but she soon starts to believe there is something more supernatural is the cause.
This was a rich and evocative gothic tale. Based on a real case from the 1880s, in which a series of young children and adults disappeared from the East End of London. Eliza Carter, returned briefly before her final disappearance to tell her friends that the fairies had kidnapped her and forbidden her to return home. She was never seen again.
The island of Skye is described as a bleak place and I could imagine how desolate it seemed. I really enjoyed the dark fairy tales mixed in with historical facts and each page is richly atmospheric. A great spooky tale mixed with true life historical happenings.
The Story Keeper was published in paperback on 10th January 2019. Thank you to Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour for this book. Please do check out the other wonderful bloggers below…
About the author:
Anna Mazzola is a writer of historical crime fiction. Her debut novel, The Unseeing, won an Edgar Award in the US and was nominated for the Historical Writers Association Debut Crown in the UK.
Anna studied English at Pembroke College, Oxford, before accidentally becoming a criminal justice solicitor. She lives in Camberwell, London, with two small children, two cats and one husband.