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Fairytales once held an important place in the lives of people of every age and social rank. Handed down from generation to generation like precious heirlooms, these stories told of the struggles between good and evil, rich and poor, and often culminated in an allusion to how we reap what we sow. They served both as social commentary and morality lessons, seasoned with magic spells, mythical creatures, and enchanted objects. However, their enduring appeal is perhaps not only in the fantastical journeys on which they take us, but in the fact that they allow even the lowliest of us to believe there is reason to hope and dream.
Willow, Weep No More is a collection of traditionally-inspired tales that capture the magic and charm of the fairytale realm, whilst seeking to explore the depths of human wisdom, beauty and strength.
There’s nothing I didn’t enjoy about this book. The characters, writing, stories, all of it is strong and assured and packaged together in a gorgeous hardcover with slip cover and wonderful internal illustrations.
I read the book cover to cover, and was surprised at how the different tones and styles all seemed to work seamlessly. There’s darkness and heartache tales, and then there’s the more fantastical and ‘happy ending’ tales, reminding us that not all stories are sad, sometimes, there is a little light.
There are clearly some talented writers. I particularly enjoyed Selina Carr’s contribution ‘The Heart of the Forest’, and when reading it, I cried. It reminded me of the old Grimm tales of sacrifice and love.
Now, let me write a little about each of the tales as I remember them…
I also loved ‘Glint of Gold’ by Christina Elaine Collins, which was a perfect blend of feminine strength and classical storytelling with nods to The Princess and The Pea and the Golden Goose .’The Possibility of Wings’ by Sharda Dean will haunt you…you have been warned! It’s beautifully harsh and even now, the ending is so stark in my mind. On this story alone, I will read anything else I see with Sharda Dean’s name on it!
There’s also ‘Grave’ by Hazel Butler that tilts its cap towards the Russian tales with an unlikeable MC that redeems herself and, then, a story by the only male contributor, ‘The Girl Who Made The Moon’ by David Tarleton, who writes so splendidly that I can imagine closing my eyes and having the tale read to me.
The Lady in the Moon and Her Lantern by A.R Cook which, to me, had almost a blend of Native American and European influence, and the fall of the moon is echoed with ‘Raindrop’ by Honor Thompson, which shows the fall of a star and an innocent style of storytelling which contrasts with some of the other tales.
‘Evelyn and the Painted Cave’ by Michelle Basson had me wishing I was a painter, her descriptions are so rich and vivid and with ‘After The End’ by Erin Thorne, we have a story about trolls so delightful, so dark and yet strangely gentle, that the reader is lulled into thinking this collection ends on a gentle note – not so.
Oh, how could I forget! ‘A Fable’ makes an appearance both at the start with ‘Willow, Weep No More’ – a story so beautiful, it made me start the book with a lump in my throat, and ends it with ‘Mourning Star’ which…yup, ends the collection with a lump in the throat.
Overall, I definitely DEFINITELY recommend this book. It’s beautiful and is a treasured collection.
(For transparency, Tenebris Books is a sister imprint of Kristell Ink, however, none of the stories included in Willow, Weep No More, were commissioned, edited or chosen by me. This is solely the wonderful book-baby of Zoë Harris!)