THE CHANGE-CHILD by Jane Louise Curry


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More rumbles in Middle Earth but they come late, and Eilian puzzles long about why she is ""lame and. . . different"" in a Welsh limbo undated (Elizabeth's reign) until halfway through and undefined (as to its connection with the Fairy Folk) until almost the end. The reader is adrift altogether, more even than Eilian whose only clue is a false one, her resemblance to Mamga, her grandmother, the reputed Queen of the Red Fairies. But the Red Fairies, as Eilian discovers during her stay on the rim of the Great Dark Wood, are common thieves cloaked in illusion and Eilian's disenchantment turns to dismay when Mamga treacherously promises her to the (ig)noble Rastells in hopes of protecting her own people.- (Simon Rastell seeks to marry Eilian to regain Plaseirian, a rich property newly claimed by Eilian's father--but that is almost literally another story.) Always hovering on the edges is young Goronwy, vaguely different also, and eventually the portal to the Fairy Folk: he is a change-child, being part human, and so--less so--is Eilian, for she is of the blood of the ancient Singer who wed Ywen of the Fairy Folk. Her difference and her gift for singing understood, Eilian can return in inner peace to Plaseirian. And in outer peace--the Rastells, in fury at the death of Simon, have set fire to the Great Wood and departed. Driven out, the Fairy Folk depart too, for Tir na'nOg, but Goronwy remains with Eilian and her song, ""Yesterday, today, tomorrow--/Joy is bloom to time and sorrow."" What is well-ended (though not so well as in The Mountain and the Summer Stars [303, J-105], for one) is raggedly begun, and altogether this not inconsiderable book fails to take hold-like some of its fellows in Welsh fantasy.

Pub Date: April 16th, 1969
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World