I’m posting a review of the book Twilight Child, by Sally Warner In keeping with a faerie theme- since it’s March, the month of St. Patrick’s Day- the land of the faeries and all that. The closest this book comes to Ireland is Scotland, but as I well know from experience, most Americans celebrate them as one and the same. How do I know this? Well, if you must know, I grew up Irish Step Dancing with my sister, Cari. You can read more about it in our 2011 St. Patrick’s Day post on Eoin Colfer’s Half Moon Investigations– scroll all the way to the bottom if you don’t want to read the whole double scoop, but I recommend reading the whole thing of course!
One lesser known fact is that we actually performed Irish reels and jigs in our local Irish Pub called Quinn’s– it was always one of the top fund-producing endeavors for our small school. But that’s a story for another day. Back to my point. We spent most of the St. Patrick’s holiday dancing around town- almost inevitably just before or after the Scottish Highland Bagpipers, either that or the local cloggers. It really didn’t make a lot of sense, but I guess once you’ve tipped a few too many, they’re all one and the same, apparently. It used to irritate us to no end in our child-like views of fairness, truth and justice. Now I just think it’s rather funny. The Scottish don’t have their own holiday here (that I know of, I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong), so I guess us Irish people will just have to be nice enough to share. In that same spirit of sharing, I thought I’d give a book that has Scottish themes a place of honor in our March holiday celebrations. I know, I’m a really nice Irish person, aren’t I?
Twilight Child, in summary, is about a girl named Eleni who is born on the longest day of the year, just at the magical hour of Twilight- making her able to see and communicate with all sorts of creatures from the magical world of faeries and spirits. The story begins in Finland during an occupation by Sweden- a country at war with Russia. Eleni’s country is torn by conflict- not only that between countries themselves, but that between wealthy ruling class, and servant/peasants, which is the category Eleni finds herself in. But, her life is destined for many shocks and challenges as she is spirited away on a ship. She faces many dangers of the sea, and works hard to find her true home.
Sally Warner obviously knows a lot of folklore and history of these great places. Although the book does have many elements of fantasy which Warner weaves throughout her story due to the rich tales inherent to Finland and Scotland and the sea, it actually qualifies as historical fiction. That is so cool!