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Solstice Wood Paperback – January 2, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

World Fantasy Award–winner McKillip revisits the setting of her masterful novel Winter Rose (1996) in this compelling contemporary fantasy. Summoned home for her grandfather's funeral, Sylvia Lynn arrives with the intention of leaving as soon as possible. Once there, however, she feels the treacherous pull of the old house, the shadowy forest around it and the otherworldly beings who live there. Sylvia's grandmother introduces her to the Fiber Guild, women who meet once a month to sew the magical barriers that protect Lynn Hall from the fay, "a cold, loveless, dangerous people." But the hall's protective magic has weakened, leaving Sylvia—both mortal and faery herself—vulnerable as "the bridge across the boundaries" between the two worlds. Can generations of mistrust and long-hoarded secrets yield to a truce, let alone a new understanding and even trust between faery and human? Though McKillip has traded her usual lyrical style for a sparser approach, she doesn't stint on characterization, mood or mystery in this multilayered tale. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Sylvia Lynn owns a thriving bookstore in Los Angeles, where she has spent most of her adult life avoiding her past and the grandmother who raised her. But when her beloved grandfather dies, she knows she must go to Lynn Hall, the huge, old house that has been the Lynn family's center for generations, and to the frightening, tantalizing wood behind it. Returning, she is surprised when Gram invites her to attend the Fiber Guild, a sewing circle that's been around forever, for Sylvia can't even thread a needle. True shock comes when she learns that the circle is a coven of witches working spells with their knitting and needlework that protect Lynn Hall and the town from the ancient powers of the forest and the evil Fay, and that the spells are unraveling faster than the witches can weave, and paths between worlds are reopening. The Fay kidnap Sylvia's 14-year-old cousin, Tyler, replacing him with a changeling. Sylvia finds a way into the wood's magical realm to look for him but hasn't a clue as to where he is or how to find the way back. If she manages to return, her long, closely kept secret will be out--and then will the people she loves most accept her, and Gram still love her? McKillip dazzles with this lovely tale of fairy and human worlds meeting and melding. Paula Luedtke
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; Reprint edition (January 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441014658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441014651
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #564,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Most sequels are only pale copies of the original story. But Patricia McKillip writes a sequel like nobody else.

Returning to the dreamlike Tam Lin storyline of "Winter Rose," McKillip spins up a new story in modern times. Sure, there are laptops, cell phones and green hair. But her lush writing and glimpses of a sinister, beautiful Otherworld are still firmly in place.

Generations of Lynns have lived at Lynn Manor, going back to Lynn Corbett and Rois Melior. Now Sylvia returns to it for her grandfather's funeral, only to find that he has willed the run-down manorhouse to her. She doesn't want it, preferring her urban bookstore to the eerie beauty of her old home.

But when she encounters visions of faerie and a sewing circle/coven, Sylvia must deal with the fact that there is magic. And it has taken root in her own family: one relation is besotted with a wood nymph, while her teenage cousin has been replaced by a fay changeling. To save them, Sylvia must confront her own mysterious past... and her fay blood.

Don't expect a copy or direct follow-up to "Winter Rose." The two stories are linked here and there, but not so that "Solstice Wood" relies on the past. Instead, it's a haunting story in its own right, which can almost make you believe that a magical, terrifying Otherworld exists right next to ours, and that that knitting-obsessed old lady might be a guardian witch.

This book is also written differently: McKillip switches perspective several times, from Sylvia to her grandmother, even to the changeling that replaces Tyler. And during the more contemporary scenes, she switches to less ornate language. But her lush writing hits its stride when the supernatural slips into the story, full of cobwebs, moonlight, water and woodlands.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Linda Pagliuco VINE VOICE on April 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Solstice Wood, by Patricia A. McKillip, is the sequel to Winter Rose, a love story about a human woman who fell in love with a "fay" man. Solstice Wood is set in the same American town, and the same house, but in modern times. Sylvia Lynn comes from a family that has lived in Lynn Hall for generations. Several years back, she left home rather abruptly, moving across the country, but now she must return for the funeral of her beloved grandfather. Sylvia is stunned to learn that Lynn Hall is now hers, according to her grandfather's will. She plans to stay only a few days, and on her last evening, attends the Fiber Guild, a women's club that has met at Lynn Hall for a century. It becomes more and more clear that something peculiar is going on, for the guild members seem unusually intent upon their designs and stitches.

I won't set down any spoilers about what happens to Syl and her family. This is an enticing story, part reality, part fantasy, with more than a touch of magic yet somehow credible. It incorporates many classic folkloric motifs and themes, but the one that most interested me is the needlework connection. In mythology and folklore, spinning, sewing, and threads play an important role. In story of the labyrinth and the Minotaur, for example, a thread is laid so the hero can find his way back out. The 3 Fates, spinning, weaving, and finally cutting the thread, represent the cycle of life. Fairy tale heroines prick their fingers on needles or spindles, or are forced into a life of endless spinning.

In Solstice Wood, the Fiber Guild's creations are designed to protect one world from another, using age old methods known to wise women everywhere. Today fiber artists recognize and appreciate the stress relieving properties of needlework. By reading such books as Solstice Wood, and by studying the magical properties of women's work and women's powers in folklore, I've come to appreciate the fiber arts in another way.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on February 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Gram calls bookstore owner Sylvia Lynn to come home as Grandpa Liam just died after wandering outside in the cold night of mountainous Upstate New York. Her lover Madison offers to accompany her, but Sylvia says no. Sylvia returns to Lynn Hall the same day that Gram beckoned her to come home with all intentions to flee as soon as she can.

However, as if she never left, the dilapidated house, the forest and the nearby supernatural creatures seduce Sylvia trying to entice her to stay. Gram introduces Sylvia to the sewing club members of the Fiber Guild, women who meet monthly to insure that the magical barricade that keeps Lynn Hall from the deadly Fay remains in tact. However, the magical barrier is showing signs of wear and tear, which places Sylvia, a hybrid offspring of two worlds, yanked from both sides who feel she is the key to victory over the hated abominations on the other side of the barrier.

Returning to the landscape of the classic WINTER ROSE, Patricia A. McKillip provides a deep character driven modern day fantasy that stars a harassed heroine who just wants to leave town as she has never understood why her Gram watches her like a hawk observes its prey. The action-packed story hooks genre fans from the moment that Sylvia knows Gram is calling her before picking up her phone from across the country and never slows down through several brilliant twists that will bring accolades to this dazzling author. A stand alone novel, readers will want to peruse this tale and its award winning precedent.

Harriet Klausner
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