Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005
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*****= An all-time favorite
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****The Folk Keeper

by Franny Billingsley

Reviewed December 11, 2005.
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York, 1999.  162 pages.
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005 (#7, Young Adult Fantasy Fiction)

I’ve owned this book for quite awhile, since it had been highly recommended to me.  I hadn’t gotten it read because I owned it, and it didn’t have a due date.  I finally got going on it when I heard that Franny Billingsley was going to attend the same children’s writers’ conference in Paris that I was about to attend.  So I read the book on the train and ended up staying up past one o’clock on the first night of the conference in order to finish it.

I love fantasy novels that have a new twist, something different than what’s been done so many times before.  This book features Corinna Stonewall, a girl who’s disguised herself as a boy in order to be a Folk Keeper.

The Keeper tends the Folk who live in underground caverns.   If their anger is not directed toward the Keeper, cows will die, crops will fail, and milk will curdle.  Other Folk are not so harmful, such as the Hill Hounds or the Sealfolk.

Corinna has learned not to trust anyone.  She learns what those around her love most, so that if they cross her, she can take swift and sure revenge.  She has told no one her own secrets, such as how her hair grows two inches per hour when she sleeps, or that she always knows the exact time of day.

Somehow, old Lord Merton knows some of her secrets.  Before his death, he has her sent to a manor by the sea to tend the Folk there.  These Folk are much stronger and more wild.  Can Corinna protect herself from their fury or even keep her position?  Why is she so strangely moved by the sea when she sees it for the first time?

By the end of the book, Corinna learns secrets about the family of the manor and about herself.  She must choose what destiny she will follow.

This book is all too absorbing.  (Be careful, or it will keep you up late!)  A refreshingly different fantasy that will stick in your mind long after.

Review of another book by Franny Billingsley:

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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