Reviewed September 7, 2007.
Firebird (Penguin), New York, 2002. 247 pages.
If a book is put out by Firebird, it’s a good bet that I will like it. I hadn’t heard of this author before, but if Firebird’s editor, Sharon November, thought it good enough young adult fantasy to reprint, I knew I would probably enjoy it. I was not disappointed.
Cassie’s grandfather has been put in the hospital, and her mother expects Cassie to come along and take care of him, even though he didn’t recognize Cassie on her last visit. It would mean that Cassie would have to miss the violin recital she’s long been working toward, but as usual she gives in to her mother.
It doesn’t take Cassie long to figure out that something strange and sinister is going on. For starters, her grandfather’s house is filthy and someone has broken things to pieces. But it somehow involves that strangely attractive man on the motorcycle, whom Cassie met before she left. And the kind fiddler who sent him away. And the odious neighbor whom everyone at the hospital thinks is wonderful and helpful to her grandfather.
The struggle ends up being nothing short of war between fairy clans—including one that is hostile to humans.
This book reminded me very strongly of Patricia McKillip’s Solstice Wood, with the wayward child (Cassie’s mom) coming back at the death of the owner of the house with a connection to fairyland. I found Hannah’s Garden captured my heart more than Solstice Wood did. Perhaps the younger protagonist caught up in these things helped, but Midori Snyder’s writing style also drew me in.