Join Date: Feb 2006
Woo hoo! ELFLAND has been published at last. Itís in hardback, with a beautiful cover by renowned artist KY Craft. And my long-awaited copies have arrived. Iíve finally got my new website up and running Ė including info on all my books, cover images, thoughts on writing and lots more. That has almost completely occupied my time over the past couple of weeks. Speaking as a very novice web designer, Iím quite pleased with my own efforts! No doubt there is much room for improvement, but I can build on what Iíve learned. You can find it at www.fredawarrington.com. Let me know if youíd like to swap links to your own author site or book-loversí site. Check the Links page Ė you might already be on there. Excitingly, I found a lovely review of Elfland at the FantasyLiterature.net site - http://www.fantasyliterature.com/warringtonfreda.html Ė this review was also posted on Amazon. I hope ĎMelusineí doesnít mind me reproducing her words but I canít resist Ė itís the sort of review every writer hopes to receive!
5.0 out of 5 stars They Just Don't Write 'Em Like That Anymore, August 18, 2009 by Melusine (Fantasy book reviews for lovers of excellent fantasy fiction) (Columbia, MO United States) - See all my reviews (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
Cross Elizabeth Hand with Fire and Hemlock, and you might end up with something like Freda Warrington's Elfland. This is the kind of big, sweeping modern faerie tale that you don't see often on the adult shelves anymore. There's been some beautiful work done in YA recently, but in the adult realm, the trend has been away from novels like this. And that's a shame. Elfland is complex, rich, sensual, beautifully written, and sometimes heartbreaking.
I devoured Elfland. I carried it with me everywhere for four days, because I never knew when I might have a spare five minutes to steal a page or two. When I was at work, I looked forward to going home so I could read more. I read late into the night, every night. I was hooked. That, to me, is the surest sign of a five-star book: the complete inability to put it down unless I absolutely have to!
Our heroine, Rosie Fox, is of Aetherial (fae) descent, living with her family just this side of the Great Gates that divide our world from the Otherworld. Rosie's haughty neighbor, Lawrence Wilder, is the Gatekeeper, and as such, is supposed to open the Gates every seven years to allow travel, and a flow of energy, between the realms. As the story opens, however, he has shut the Gates, claiming a great danger lurks on the other side. Elfland follows Rosie, her family and friends, and Lawrence's family over the course of the next fourteen years. Fourteen years: long enough for a girl to grow into a woman, for loves to be lost and found, and for family secrets to explode. Long enough for some Aetherials to decide it's better to deny their fae nature, and for others to resort to desperate measures to reopen the Gates.
At its heart, Elfland is about how denying one's true self is a sure path to disaster. It's also a love story. I usually don't go for romances in which the hero and heroine bicker, but Warrington makes the trope sing. Rosie and her eventual love interest get off on the wrong foot as kids, and the way their relationship develops seems painfully realistic to me, with the characters slipping back into snarky retorts because they're familiar, and because the retorts serve as an outlet for emotions more disturbing than anger. Both characters have a lot of growing to do before they're a good match for each other. Elfland is, in part, the story of that growth, and of the sometimes wrenching mistakes made along the way.
When the plot moves into the Otherworld, Warrington handles the journey perfectly. It would have been easy to let the story get bogged down in travelogue here, to slow the pace down by showing the reader every single strange thing that populates the Aetherial realms. Warrington doesn't fall into this trap. She gives us a glimpse of how beautiful and how terrifying Elfland can be, but leaves some things to the imagination, and keeps the focus firmly on the characters' quest. This has a dual effect: it keeps the plot moving, and it allows the Otherworld to retain some of its mystery.
Overall, I loved Elfland. It's a sumptuous feast of a novel, filled with vivid characters, magical locales both earthly and Aetherial, and a complicated plot in which nearly every detail turns out to be significant in the end. I'll definitely be looking up Freda Warrington's backlist.