Fifteen-year-old Ophelia, known as O, encounters the unexpected when she spends a transformative summer with her aunt, a poet and the proprietor of a secondhand bookshop called the Green Man, “where extraordinary things [happen].”
After receiving a summer grant to study in Italy, O’s father sends her to stay with his older sister Emily, “one of the finest poets of her generation.” Though “always a poet, always a little odd,” Emily’s recent heart attack has left her even more “off-center.” Emily’s eccentricity concerns O, who has recently started writing poetry. Arriving at the Green Man, O finds Emily frail and distracted. Suffering from debilitating angina and disturbing childhood dreams of an evil magician, Emily has clearly neglected everything. As O tries to restore order to Emily’s disintegrating life and business, she falls under the Green Man’s spell and is drawn irrevocably into the dark mystery threatening her aunt. United by poetry, O and Emily bond, and, by summer’s end, O “joins the ranks of those crazy people who call themselves poets.” This atmospheric exploration of what it means to be a poet offers memorable corporeal and incorporeal characters, a realistic intergenerational relationship and a deeply rooted mystery connecting past and present.
Ideal for those with a penchant for magic, mystery and poetry. (Fantasy. 10-14)