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Legends live footsteps away from the streets of Oxford
May 9, 2016
The Wolf in the Attic By Paul Kearney
Rebellion/Solaris Sci Fi & Fantasy Pub Date: May 10, 2016
The Wolf in the Attic is an unusual fantasy that has elements of a fable. Anna is a girl on the cusp of adolescence. She fled from Greece with her father, taking residence in Oxford, but not really belonging. Busy with his own interests, Anna's father leaves her to her own exploration, accompanied only by her doll Pie. Her imagination and curiosity are a means of escape.
Through chance, she encounters a group of travelers, gypsies. To her they represent freedom and mystery. It is in the forest that she first sees that there are things beyond her imagining. With the threat of the workhouse looming after her father's death, Anna sets forth to find the gypsies. On her path, she encounters beings from myth and imagination - parts of the old world, the old worship now almost forgotten. She faces tests of her spirit and her strength but ultimately she will find where she is meant to be.
The Wolf in the Attic is leisurely paced, much like a dream. Anna's development from naïveté to understanding and spiritual courage is what the novel focuses on. The element of myth contrasts starkly with the desolation and desperation of city life after the war (WWI). The beauty and color of the Greece of her past, where legends were built contrasts with the dank, dark winter of Oxford and the cars driving through the streets.
There is a beauty to The Wolf in the Attic, but one that won't necessarily appeal to the general reader. If you are looking for something different, if you enjoy the myths and legends of England, The Wolf in the Attic will amaze.
I received a copy of The Wolf in the Attic from the publisher and netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
1920s Oxford: home to C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien... and Anna Francis, a young Greek refugee looking to escape the grim reality of her new life. The night they cross paths, none suspect the fantastic world at work around them.
Anna Francis lives in a tall old house with her father and her doll Penelope. She is a refugee, a piece of flotsam washed up in England by the tides of the Great War and the chaos that trailed in its wake. Once upon a time, she had a mother and a brother, and they all lived together in the most beautiful city in the world, by the shores of Homer's wine-dark sea.
But that is all gone now, and only to her doll does she ever speak of it, because her father cannot bear to hear. She sits in the shadows of the tall house and watches the rain on the windows, creating worlds for herself to fill out the loneliness. The house becomes her own little kingdom, an island full of dreams and half-forgotten memories. And then one winter day, she finds an interloper in the topmost, dustiest attic of the house. A boy named Luca with yellow eyes, who is as alone in the world as she is.
That day, she’ll lose everything in her life, and find the only real friend she may ever know.