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O.R. Melling
Toronto, HarperCollins, 1993.156pp, cloth, $16.95
ISBN 0-00-224008-4. CIP.

Grades 6 to 9/Ages 11 to 14

Reviewed by Margaret Mackey.

Volume 21 Number 5
1993 October

Findabhair is Irish. Her Canadian cousin, Gwen, has the Welsh version of the same name: Gwenhyvar. The cousins have been close friends since childhood, and share a romantic interest in Ireland's mystical past. In this story, they translate that interest into contemporary adventures, moving into the world of highly traditional conventions, falling in love with the king of the fairies, and engaging in battles with the forces of evil.

Melling's Ireland is emphatically set in the 1990s with mentions of the Common Market and the new president, Mary Robinson. This Ireland, however, remains a rural idyll, so that young girls can safely hitchhike, even alone. This is essential to the plot because there is considerable travelling between one historic site and another.

There is not much new, fresh or startling in this book: the language is conventional, the plot is familiar, the characters are limited. Nevertheless, the encroachment of faerie wiles on the ordinary world is an idea that carries its own potency and, in the end, even a non-fantasy addict can be engaged by the way the story works out. The later scenes are the best in the book and the ending is intriguing.

This is a book for upper elementary and junior high fantasy lovers, perhaps especially girls.

Margaret Mackey is a Ph.D. student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta.
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