It’s TWG’s turn on #TheStoryKeeper blog tour, courtesy of RandomThingsTours! Many thanks to Anne for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, and many thanks to the publisher Tinder Press for the review copy. I am delighted to be able to share my review with you all today!
Audrey Hart is on the Isle of Skye to collect the folk and fairy tales of the people and communities around her. It is 1857 and the Highland Clearances have left devastation and poverty, and a community riven by fear. The crofters are suspicious and hostile to a stranger, claiming they no longer know their fireside stories.
Then Audrey discovers the body of a young girl washed up on the beach and the crofters reveal that it is only a matter of weeks since another girl disappeared. They believe the girls are the victims of the restless dead: spirits who take the form of birds.
Initially, Audrey is sure the girls are being abducted, but as events accumulate she begins to wonder if something else is at work. Something which may be linked to the death of her own mother, many years before.
What does TWG think?
Where on EARTH do I begin? I apologise in advance if this review ends up being a load of old gobbledegook – I’ll try my best to write sentences that actually make sense. Can’t promise anything though!!
‘The Story Keeper’ has intrigued me since I saw the cover of it on social media last year. I knew straight away that I wanted to delve into the darkness, yet I couldn’t really explain why. I mean, the cover gives nothing away and it is exceptionally dark, a world away from a lot of the other books I read. Maybe, thinking about it now, that was why I wanted to read it? Maybe the darkness of the cover piqued my interest? Maybe it was because it was so different, that I knew I just had to read it?
I didn’t know what to expect from Anna Mazzola’s novel before I started reading it so, because I don’t read blurbs, I read the book ‘blind’ so to speak, and wow, what a book this was!
Yes, the storyline is from a land far, far away (pardon the pun), and yes, the storyline is extremely dark with many chilling moments. However, none of that is a negative in the slightest! Set in Scotland in the mid 1800’s, ‘The Story Keeper’ follows Audrey’s journey in a place she holds dear due to the emotional ties with her late mother. Just like the title of the book suggests, it does contain ‘stories’. Not just any type of ‘story’ though – fairy tales and folklore. We have all heard of fairy tales and folk tales, but did you know about the secrets hidden beneath the words? I had no idea just how magical those stories could be perceived and, despite sitting on the fence in terms of belief, I couldn’t help myself becoming washed away with the rest of the believers every time a story was told.
Don’t fret though – ‘The Story Keeper’ isn’t merely fairy tales and magic, it also has a very creep undertone to it due to the death of a local girl and the fact that nobody knows the how’s, why’s, and wherefore’s behind the particular death. Some of the characters, the believers in the fairytales, were adamant that spirits were involved, yet the non believer type characters refused to belief that something untoward was going on. Why would they believe a young girl who was with child, when in those days that sort of thing was incredibly frowned upon and went against the grain of the religion?
It’s not that I didn’t think that I would enjoy this book, it’s that I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did, because I absolutely loved it. I enjoyed the thrilling and highly suspenseful antics of the characters. I was gripped by the feeling of the unknown due to the spirits and strong belief where the fairy tales were concerned. I even adored the fact that I was able to lose myself in the chilling elements of the book, wrapping myself up in the darkness of the tale as the storyline progressed.
‘The Story Keeper’ is an outstanding, powerfully written novel which completely took my breath away. I thought Anna Mazzola’s writing style made the story come alive from all directions, and this author, in my eyes, has now become one to watch for me. I cannot wait to lose myself in more of her future novels if ‘The Story Keeper’ is anything to go about. What a phenomenal, phenomenal read!