Friday, June 18, 2010
Solstice Wood by Patricia A. McKillip
Synopsis From Dust Jacket:
When bookstore owner Sylvia Lynn hears her grandmother's voice on the phone, she knows she must finally return to her childhood home in upstate New York. Her beloved grandfather has died, and though she has put a country between her and the past, the time has come for Sylvia to face the grandmother who raised her and the woods which so beguiled - and frightened - her...
Though Lynn Hall is nearly ramshackle, Sylvia's grandmother is just as spry as ever. There is no escaping her scrutiny - and Sylvia has something to hide. But it's not until she meets the Fiber Guild - a group of local women who meet to knit, embroider, and sew - that Sylvia learns why her grandmother watches her. A primitive power exists in the forest, a force the Fiber Guild seeks to bind in its stitches and weavings. And Sylvia is no stranger to the woods...
I've only read one other book by Patricia A. McKillip, though I wished I could remember the name of it, but she now has a fan for life. She is such a lyrically beautiful writer, every word is sacred and every scene in the book is lovingly set for the reader to enjoy. This is a haunting book of family secrets and longing for a place to call home, it just so happens to be set in a old country manor surrounded by woods that holds it's own secrets.
I don't want to get into too much detail about Sylvia and what happens to her family in this book but reading the internal torment that forced Sylvia to leave home to begin with is all to familiar with me. Who doesn't struggle with their identity at times? When that identity forces you to leave all you love behind, the pain is horrific but the strength it builds in you can be your salvation. Sylvia needs all that strength to confront her past and her family's present when she returns home for the funeral of her loving grandfather.
This is a book of magic set in the modern world and not once did those two opposing ideas clash with each other. Patricia A. McKillip crafted the story to be believable and she more than pulled it off. Not once did it feel out of place for there to be fairies living in the wood or for magic to be created by knitting, weaving, and sewing knots. This is a fairy tale for adults and I can't wait to get lost in this world again.