They said later that he rode into the village on a horse the color of buttermilk, but I saw him walk out of the wood
Rois has always been a little fey; wandering the woods barefoot while her sister and father work at home. Her mother died when she was a baby. But from the moment she sees Corbett Lynn she is obsessed, both by him and his past. And the curse that is said to haunt his family. She knows there is some secret there, and she wants to know what it is.
Corbett himself if the subject of much gossip in the village. Years ago his grandfather’s body was found, with his father no where to be seen. The villagers presumed the son had killed the father, and the stories are full of the curse left by the elder Lynn. But each story gives a different version of the curse. Now that a Lynn has returned speculation increases, and Rois is determined to uncover the truth.
I enjoyed this book, more for the language than for any plot line or character. Not that either of those elements are badly portrayed, but they aren’t gripping. Rois, the first person narrator, is interesting in her own way. Never enthralling. And the story of a family curse didn’t really interest me at all. However once the fantasy element comes along and the winter woods come alive the book also comes to life.
In many ways this a fairy-tale. The story of a stranger who wins the heart of a young girl, but is under a spell. But it isn’t that simple, because Rois’s sister Laurel also seems to falling in love with Corbett, despite the efforts of her fiancée Perrin. And Corbett isn’t whom he seems to be, and with winter on its way, the season of his curse, Rois must work hard to understand what is going on.
This is one of the few McKillip books that I haven't read. I count her as one of my favorite authors and for the reason that you stated: the language. She has a unique writing style that I cannot describe well but it always thrills me once I get into one of her stories. I think Ombria in Shadow is still my favorite.
Carl I think it was your last review of a McKillip book that prompted me to pick this up off the tbr shelf :) I haven't read anything else by the author, and while this wouldn't make me run off and buy her back catalgoue, it's certainly make me consider buying them if I spotted them in the shop.
In the Forests of Serre and The Tower at Stony Wood are also both good. Some of her books are more accessible than others. Ombria is one of the more accessible ones that also reminds me much of Gaiman's Neverwhere. Her much older Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy is also a good LOTR type epic fantasy.
I'll keep my eye out for more and let you know what I think Carl