Book Review: ‘Half Sick of Shadows’ by Richard Abbott

As someone who has always loved Tennyson’s poem ‘The Lady of Shalott’, the title of this book caught my eye and imagination immediately. Rather than being a retelling of the poem, however, this book is a speculative fantasy about the life of the Lady before the events of the poem take place, and on the nature of her observations of the world around her tower.

The story is very creative and highly original in its development, intriguing the reader with hints about the truth of the Lady’s identity and the reasons for her being imprisoned in her tower.

The Lady’s character is quite thoroughly developed, as the reader is allowed into her thoughts and responses as well as into her activities. Other characters in the book are less well developed, simply because the story moves from one group to another as it progresses, but all are portrayed in a personal and evocative  manner that gives both the Lady and the reader a strong sense of connection to them. 

The author has given the well known story a new sense of mystery and intrigue and another layer of mystical connection that gives this book depth and has a profound effect on the reader. 

A most enjoyable read, ‘Half Sick of Shadows’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

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Book Review: ‘The Lady Of The Mist’ by WC Quick

If you have ever suspected that the ‘happy ever after’ of fairy tales wasn’t actually true? 

This is a dark fantasy sequel to Cinderella that brings with it a very different set of premises than those suggested by the ending of the popular children’s fairy tale. 

Written with dark humour and a strong sense of irony, this is a fairy tale for the cynical and subversive. 

An entertaining short read, ‘Lady Of The Mist’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.  

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Book Review: ‘The Swan Princes: A Christmas Tail’ by Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel

An excellent 21st Century retelling of an old tale.

This novella is a contemporary retelling of the classic Swan Lake story.

The well known story has been cleverly recreated in a contemporary setting and style, with a variety of great characters that have been developed very cleverly and with good attention to detail.  The best stories have characters that you love and others that you love to hate, and this book does not disappoint. 

It’s great to see this story being given new life in a way that is is well-written and very enjoyable. It blends mystery, fantasy, romance and magical realism quite seamlessly to deliver a story that is very engaging and delivers some strong lessons about family, loyalty, and the power of love. 

‘The Swan Princes’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

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Book Review: ‘Falling For Elizabeth Bennet’ by Debra Ann Kummoung

A new reinvention of Pride and Prejudice – don’t expect the same story!

In this reinvention of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, the author has reworked the same characters and some elements of the story to create an original work based on Austen’s classic, but not consistent with it. I did enjoy some of these new twists and turns, and appreciated the author’s exploration of the stigma associated with epilepsy in the 18th century. 

I found myself conflicted not by these alterations, but by the fact that the entire story is written in present tense, which gives the story the feeling of a running commentary rather than a developed storyline. While that may be a matter of personal preference, I didn’t feel as though the narration did justice to the storyline or the important ideas the author wanted to develop and explore.

I also found it odd that the characters kept on using each other’s names every time they spoke during a conversation, which felt stilted and quite redundant. 

All in all, this was an enjoyable enough read, but probably better for a reader less fussy about writing style than I am. 


Falling for Elizabeth Bennet has been awarded a Bronze Acorn. 

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