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Pamela Dean
book cover

1991, Tor

Who recommends: Danielle, Tanya, Shelly, Margaret
Who discommends:

A modern retelling of the ancient Scottish ballad sets the story of a girl whose lover is stolen by the Queen of Faeries against the backdrop of a midwestern college campus in the late sixties." A very subtle fantasy; reminiscent of Fire & Hemlock, but the plot is easier to fathom.

I love Dean's writing. She uses allusions and phrases from Shakespeare, Donne, etc., in such a way as to make you look at them with new eyes.--Danielle

Yet another 'very favourite': the romance is wonderful, the fantasy element is beautifully understated (to the point of obscurity), and yep, I fell for Thomas. (I have this thing about characters called Thomas, for reasons unknown even to myself, and don't know anyone by that name in real life). Also made me wish I'd done classics at college, though it is a bit late now.--Tanya (30 Jul 99)

Wonderful book. I don't know whether I like this version or Ellen Kushner's Thomas the Rhymer better, but I think this one is the better book (does that make sense?). Dean's an amazing writer. I've been trying to find her Secret Country books for a while (I know, BSJ).--Shelly (31 Jul 99)

I adore this book. I have heard people complain that the fantasy element is invisible most of the time but one of things I enjoy about the book is the way the undercurrent of fantasy affects the whole plot even when you don't know it's there. Like most of Dean's books there are loose ends and unanswered questions. I'm not sure if this is good writing or bad writing but I don't mind not being told everything. The romance is critical to the plot.--Margaret (20 Mar 00)

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