Books by Heather Tomlinson

TOADS AND DIAMONDS by Heather Tomlinson
Released: April 1, 2010

Charles Perrault published the tale in 1695, and Robert D. San Souci and Jerry Pinkney brought it to the American South in The Talking Eggs (1988). Now here is a fleshed-out version of this folk motif that tells the story of two stepsisters and their fate-changing encounter with a goddess. One girl speaks with gems and flowers, the other with toads and snakes—gift or curse, depending on your viewpoint. Tropes of the genre are nicely twisted: Both girls are nicer than in the short versions, the worldbuilding has shallow roots in Mughal India and the ending is much kinder to the toad-speaking sister. The writing is fluid and the retelling clever. Third-person narration alternates between the two girls, allowing for a broad view of the land, culture and customs (including great descriptions of clothing) as well as the girls' relationships. The story's climax is a lulu, while the resolution is satisfying, if a little anticlimactic. A great read for fans of fairy-tale retellings, this book should be very popular with older tweens and teens. An author's note contextualizes the telling. (Fairy tale. 12-16) Read full book review >
AURELIE by Heather Tomlinson
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

Princess Aurelie and her two closest friends, Garin and Netta, grew up playing with Loic, a river drac, and have the gift of being able to see the Fae, on the condition that no one should ever know. Netta's inadvertent slip has resulted in their blindness, and with Garin returned to his original kingdom—now at odds with Aurelie's Lumielle—royal diplomatic duties bring Aurelie little joy. Tomlinson immerses readers in a world of intrigue and magic with surprisingly clarity. As the possibility of war looms and her hand in marriage seems to be the only value she possesses for achieving peace, Aurelie's difficulties multiply with Loic's wooing, Netta's subservience and Garin's Jocandagnian heritage. Sharply realized characters abound in both magical and human form; the narration shifts focus from character to character, Netta, Garin and Loic voicing their own accounts in the third person while Aurelie's takes a third-person limited form. Vivid descriptions and intricate plot twists convey that most traditional element of all faerie stories—the misunderstandings between humans and the Fae despite the best intentions. (Fantasy. YA)Read full book review >
THE SWAN MAIDEN by Heather Tomlinson
Released: Aug. 1, 2007

Doucette, a meek and envious youngest sister, progresses from sour to distant trying to find herself. Her elder sisters are swan maidens: They practice magic, choose their own lovers and tauntingly relish their freedom. Doucette, in contrast, is treated coldly and trained to supervise a household. When she discovers her own swan skin hidden under a mattress, she grabs her birthright of magical powers and flies off to learn sorcery. A sweet, tender suitor offers perfect love, but marriage seems to disallow freedom, so Doucette flees. Alone and dissociated, "[l]ike a drunkard swilling wine, a miser counting coins, she [loses] herself in magic." Tomlinson's strength is the "golden, drowsy landscape" with sensuous details like "the smell of flowering almond" and " ‘crushed mint for a pillow.' " Her weaknesses are the repetitious dichotomy ("Woman or swan, wife or witch") and a frustrating vagueness in the magic's metaphysics. Seekers of nitty-gritty magical details should look elsewhere, but the atmosphere and gratifying last chapter will please fans of romance and ambience. (Fantasy. YA)Read full book review >