Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.
Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.
Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.
It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own.
This review is structured a bit differently because it’s in part a Q&A with the author! It was so exciting to read the book and ask Molly some questions. *Thank you NetGalley for a eARC to review.*
Before we talk words can we please take a moment to stare at the cover! Look at how beautiful that cover is. It completely draws me in and makes my eyes happy. I love it! *claps for the cover design* I loved the goblins, the magic and the folklore infusion in this book. It was a quick read and I loved the somber undertone that pushes you to keep reading, to find out how things will end. Molly’s writing is fantastic and I really would love to see her do another tale re-imagined. The last quarter of the book was so mesmerizing I loved how we got to see different fae incorporated. Read on for more!
Q1: Fairytales, folklore, myths and legends are all stories I love reading. What is your favourite fairytale?
A1: For me it isn’t so much about the original fairy tales themselves as it is about how they’re told. The style of telling is everything! For example, while I love the tale of Sleeping Beauty in its early folklore forms, I thought it was especially cool what the film Maleficent did with it. I’ve enjoyed the Rapunzel story in both the lighthearted Disney version (Tangled) and Kate Forsyth’s darker take in her wonderful novel Bitter Greens. And though I’d never given much thought before to the tale of the Six Swans, I completely fell in love with it the way Juliet Marillier tells it in her book Daughter of the Forest. And that’s exactly what we’re all supposed to do with fairy tales! Tell them in such a way that they come to life and mean the most to us.
Q2: There’s something about the creatures in these tales that really fascinate me. I am always drawn to the characters who have very little in redeeming qualities. Which creatures do you like or dislike?
A2: I think it would have to be ghosts. They’re intriguing because they can be sad or sweet or any number of human things in addition to scary, but the part where they show up unexpectedly in dark corners of your house or some abandoned building—yeah, that part freaks me out a little! And therefore fascinates me.
Q3: I always love when old folklore is re-imagined by authors. How did this idea come to you?
A3: When I first read Rossetti’s poem “Goblin Market” several years ago, I was immediately interested in it and put it in my story idea file. Like a fairy tale, it’s full of vivid symbolism that isn’t entirely explained and that can be retold and interpreted in a number of ways. I ended up picking modern paranormal romance as the way to tell it, though really I diverged enough from the original poem that I only claim my book is “inspired by” the poem rather than “based on” it. I do hope it retained the same eerie, unsettling atmosphere that the poem has, though. So when readers are noting the weirdness of the intimacy between characters, well, that’s because that’s how the poem felt too! To me at least. Complete with creepy, sticky fruit.
Q4: Reading has always been a huge part of my life and I usually get asked “how do you read so many books, how do you keep them straight”? I always explain to friends/family that it’s because each story opens a new road to a new world and they’re filed away accordingly in my brain so that I can re-live them any time I want. Who are some of your favourite authors that bring new worlds to your mind?
A4: That answer changes week to week based on what I’ve been reading and getting obsessed with! However, there are some all-time favorite classics that I doubt I will ever stop loving: Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View, and Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, to name some of the major ones. In the more modern world, I adore Juliet Marillier and Kate Forsyth and Neil Gaiman for their fantasy-meets-reality skills. And just yesterday I finished and adored Yangsze Choo’s The Ghost Bride, which had the wonderfully magical feel of a Hayao Miyazaki film (Spirited Away in particular). Highly recommended!
Thank you Molly for answering my questions! I too am a fan of The Ghost Bride, such a wonderful story. Personally Spirited Away scares me. As an aside, I looked up the origin of the word ‘goblin’ and thought I’d share. I love how this is a word that props up in a couple languages, this makes it all the more interesting.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Molly Ringle was one of the quiet, weird kids in school, and is now one of the quiet, weird writers of the world. She likes thinking up innovative romantic obstacles and mixing them with topics like Greek mythology, ghost stories, fairy tales, or regular-world scandalous gossip. With her intense devotion to humor, she was proud to win the grand prize in the 2010 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest with one (intentionally) terrible sentence. She’s into mild rainy climates, gardens, ’80s new wave music, chocolate, tea, and perfume (or really anything that smells good). She has lived in the Pacific Northwest most of her life, aside from grad school in California and one work-abroad season in Edinburgh in the 1990s. (She’s also really into the U.K., though has a love/stress relationship with travel.) She currently lives in Seattle with her husband, kids, guinea pigs, and a lot of moss.