Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley

(Photo taken from Goodreads)

Title: The Folk Keeper
Author: Franny Billingsley
Publisher: Atheneum
Language: English
ISBN - 10: 0689844611
ISBN - 13: 978-068984461

Corinna Stonewall deigned avoid her fate as a servant girl, and knowing that boys have it better, she dons boy's clothing, cuts off her hair everyday (her hair grows two inches every night), and learns the trade of the Folk Keeper. The folk keeper tends to the feared Folk, who lives underground constantly angry and ravenous, spoils the milk, rots eggs and meat, and ruins crops. But when she is summoned to Merton Hall to be its new Folk Keeper, she discovers haunting, dangerous, and liberating secrets that involve the Lord of Merton Hall - and herself.

Packing a girrrl power, fantasy, mystery, and romantic punch, this story will undoubtedly bring you back to the days when you used to beg your mom or dad to read a bedtime story to you. However, as soon as you settled into that feeling, Corinna's narration through her journal, Corinna's Folk Record, will have you bristling at her haunting, self-aware, vengeful, and hard-hearted recollection of events past. The imagery and tone of this story will have you turning the pages faster than you would like to reach that final resolution that will surprise, delight, and touch every reader.

From her journal entries, one might infer that Corinna is a strong, fearless young woman. But as the story progresses, one will realize just the opposite - Corinna is a sensitive, insecure, frightened little girl who covers her feelings of ineptitude with hardness. Every inch of her life, every spot of her personality, everything about this story is all about disguises. Corinna hides her fears, and she disguises her gender, and then she eventually learns things about herself which has been disguised by history.

I would just like to comment though, on the flatness of the other character's personalities. Finian and the Lady Alicia would have been more likable had more depth been written into their characters. But then, this story is told through the entries in Corinna's journal, which may explain for the lack of perspective into these other characters.

Until now, I am struggling to find words good enough to describe the enjoyment to be had from this book. I read this a long time ago, and yet when I remember the story, I get all excited, like coming across a beautiful piece of artwork that I could not bear to leave behind. Unfortunately, my copy was lent to a former friend who never returned it to me. I am definitely going to get another copy of this one, and reread it all over again.

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