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The Folk Keeper (Jean Karl Books) Paperback – September 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Series: Jean Karl Books
  • Paperback: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689844611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689844614
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #821,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

She is never cold, she always knows exactly what time it is, and her hair grows two inches while she sleeps. Fifteen-year-old Corinna Stonewall--the only Folk Keeper in the city of Rhysbridge--sits hour after hour with the Folk in the dark, chilly cellar, "drawing off their anger as a lightning rod draws off lightning." The Folk are the fierce, wet-mouthed, cave-dwelling gremlins who sour milk, rot cabbage, and make farm animals sick. Still, they are no match for the steely, hard-hearted, vengeful orphan Corinna who prides herself in her job of feeding, distracting, and otherwise pacifying these furious, ravenous creatures. The Folk Keeper has power and independence, and that's the way she likes it.

One day, Corinna is summoned by Lord Merton to come to the vast seaside estate Cliffsend as Folk Keeper and family member--for she is the once-abandoned child he has been looking for. It is at Cliffsend that Corinna learns where her unusual powers come from, why she is drawn to the sea, and finally, what it means to be comfortable in her own skin. Written in the form of a journal, The Folk Keeper is a powerful story of a proud, ferociously self-reliant girl who breaks out of her dark, cold, narrow world into one of joy, understanding, and even the magic of romance. Franny Billingsley, author of the critically acclaimed fantasy Well Wished, has created a vividly portrayed, deliciously frightening novel that will have readers glued to the pages until the very un-bitter end. (Ages 10 and older) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In our Best Books of 2001 citation, PW wrote, "Billingsley draws on storytelling traditions yet invents a thoroughly original subterranean world inhabited by menacing creatures called Folk. Hang on for a hair-raising ride." Ages 10-14.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Any estate or village, therefore, desperately needs their Folk Keeper, and Corinna knows this well.
Amazon Customer
Upon discovering it was available for the Kindle, I immediately downloaded it and began reading... I could not put this book down until I reached the final word!
Sunshine_Zombie
I wonderful story with a fairy tale feel to it that had some neat twists at the end and a feel good ending.
K. Eckert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The Folk Keeper Submitted 6/15/01
Corinna Stonewall is a Folk Keeper. That is, in the strange and beautiful world of Ms. Billingsley's book, it is her job to lurk in the dark, cavernous underground Cellar distracting and pacifying the hideous Folk, creatures described by another Keeper as "mostly wet mouth and teeth." The Folk are constantly angry and ravenous-- never a good combination-- and they have the power to ruin crops, spoil milk, rot eggs and meat and cause animals to sicken and die. Any estate or village, therefore, desperately needs their Folk Keeper, and Corinna knows this well. Whereas anywhere else in the village she would merely be a slave or laborer, as Folk Keeper she has power and she knows it: "here in the Cellar, I control the Folk. Here, I'm queen of the world."
Perhaps like all queens, Corinna has secrets, not the least of which is that she is pretending to be a boy, for no female can be Folk Keeper. As Corin the Keeper of the Folk, she can spend long hours away from people, which allows her to keep her other secrets well hidden. Secrets like how she is never cold, how she always knows the exact time, as if a clock were running through her veins, and how her hair grows two inches every night as she sleeps.
Some of these secrets are threatened when old, dying Lord Merton comes to her, and fetches her away to his vast estate where the lure of the sea and the power of controlling a great many more Folk tempts Corinna to leave her small village. Once there, Corinna must contend with Folk that are far more fierce than those she's used to, a young man named Finian whom she forms a fast but tenuous friendship, and the enigmatic, possibly dangerous Sir Edward, who may be more than he appears.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Surely one of the most significant juvenile fantasy novels of the decade, THE FOLK KEEPER is a brilliant novel woven of intricate plot, masterful characterization, and deliciously poetic language. The compelling story of Corinna, a folk keeper who earns her place in society by tending the dangerous and ravenous folk of the underworld, is told in diary format, a device that heightens the immediacy of her search for self as she uncovers her true nature.
This is an essential purchase and a must read!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I was completely absorbed in Corinna's terrifying adventures as "folk keeper" and in figuring out the mystery of her background. What an unusual heroine! What a great setting! What an intriguing premise! What an astounding PLOT! I don't want to spoil the twists and turns for you, but trust me: this book is a flat-out great read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jo Manning on November 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
I used to be a children's librarian---that was a long time ago, but I still love children's books. (The Harry Potter books have just confirmed what we've known all along, that good books appreciated by children will also be appreciated by grownups.)The Folk Keeper is a fantasy set in England. Time period? Perhaps Georgian, perhaps Stuart, perhaps earlier. It's a time where people still have to propitiate the vestiges of an earlier, pagan world, a hungry, non-human, gnomish, fairy world by leaving offerings of food and drink. If these beings are not satisfied, cows will die or cease to give milk; crops will rot in the fields; all matter of unexplainable phenomena will take place and cause havoc. The folk keeper's job is to keep these harmful, always-hungry, excitable creatures at bay. Our heroine, a foundling named Corinna, now disguised as a boy, Corin, keeps the folk at bay at an orphanage. For this, she is respected, if not honored. When the opportunity comes to leave this awful excuse for a home, she hesitates, then goes. It turns out to be her ancestral place, where she will come to grips with her true nature, her forebears, her own other-worldliness, and find a great love. The language is sparse, but poetic, and tough but fey Corinna grows on the reader. Such an unloved little soul, who gradually becomes more beloved than she'd ever imagined. Her ordeals are harsh, but she doesn't despair. This young woman simply does not give up---making this a wonderfully inspirational story for children. I have only one quibble, and I chose to suspend my disbelief because the author writes so exquisitely: I don't think that the stepson in a second marriage could ever have inherited entailed property, much less a title, in England. But it doesn't matter---it's a quibble that will bother only die-hard researchers in English history.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Both my boyfriend and I loved this book. I wish more adults would read some of the amazing children's literature out there. Perhaps after Harry Potter they will. This book had all the elements of a good story: a great page-turner, intriguing characters, and surprising turns in the story. I felt like I was 9 again, under the covers with my flashlight squealing with delight when unexpected and wonderful or unexpected and terrible things happen. Great for readers of almost any age.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mark Sheehan on January 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Carl Jung would have loved "The Folk Keeper." Corinna is a young, "different" girl coming of age, surviving in a hostile world by taking on a male disguise and a masculine role. Her duties connect her with a mysterious underworld in which she feeds and is fed on by unseen mouths. Eventually love and loyalty pull her apart in several dimensions. What spills out is utterly unexpected, yet strangely familiar. Corinna is not what she thought she was. Are any of us?
This is no children's book -- or else we are all children. -Mark, age 51 1/2
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