The Story Keeper
From the author of THE UNSEEING comes a sizzling, period novel of folk tales, disappearances and injustice set on the Isle of Skye, sure to appeal to readers of Hannah Kent’s BURIAL RITES or Beth Underdown’s THE WITCH FINDER’S SISTER.
Longlisted for the 2018 Highland Book Prize
‘A wonderful combination of a thrilling mystery and a perfectly depicted period piece’ Sunday Mirror
Audrey Hart is on the Isle of Skye to collect the folk and fairy tales of the people and communities around her. It is 1857 and the Highland Clearances have left devastation and poverty, and a community riven by fear. The crofters are suspicious and hostile to a stranger, claiming they no longer know their fireside stories.
Then Audrey discovers the body of a young girl washed up on the beach and the crofters reveal that it is only a matter of weeks since another girl disappeared. They believe the girls are the victims of the restless dead: spirits who take the form of birds.
Initially, Audrey is sure the girls are being abducted, but as events accumulate she begins to wonder if something else is at work. Something which may be linked to the death of her own mother, many years before.
Anna Mazzola is a brilliant writer and, with The Storykeeper, has crafted a Gothic mystery of superb spookiness. A novel to be savoured -- William Ryan The folklore of an isolated Scottish island is skilfully threaded through this chilling Victorian story of corruption and abuse. Anna Mazzola brings the landscape to vivid life -- Essie Fox Laced with murder, mystery and folklore. . . drenched in stormy Scottish atmosphere -- Jason Hewitt A beautifully written, meticulously researched, atmospheric book that draws you into a brooding world of folklore and social conflict -- Adam Hamdy Darkly Gothic and soaked in atmosphere -- Rachel Rhys A hauntingly beautiful story of loss in all its forms -- Catherine Hokin Such a beautiful, atmospheric book -- Sarah Day, author of MUSSOLINI'S ISLAND Nothing is quite as it seems in this slippery Hebridean tale of a young woman's search for the truth in a shadowy world of lost rights, vanishing ritual, and hidden abuse. The Story Keeper is as provocative as it is evocative, and Anna Mazzola's enticing blend of historical record and gothic unease offers unpredictable insights into the nature of story-telling and power alike -- Lydia Syson A stunningly unique tale. Intensely creepy and pulsating with atmosphere. A dark and deadly treat -- Angela Clarke Stunning writing, steeped in folklore, brooding landscapes and whispering villagers, and a chilling mystery cloaked with a dark and creepy atmosphere -- Manda Jennings The Story Keeper paints a beautiful but sinister picture of an isolated island community. Set against a complex and convincing historical backdrop, it is wonderfully dark, atmospheric and utterly captivating; at once a compelling tale of twisted secrets and superstitions, and a contemplation on the stories we all tell ourselves to survive -- Katherine Clements With The Story Keeper Anna Mazzola expertly weaves a chilling web of menace and intrigue that utterly ensnared and beguiled me. Beautifully written and compelling. I was glued to every page -- Rowan Coleman A captivating, haunting mystery set in Skye that will keep you turning the pages through mist and sea spray. Loved this book -- Elisabeth Gifford I read The Story Keeper in a single sitting and am very glad it is still light because I have rarely encountered such a creepy and unsettling story. With echoes of The Wicker Man, the remote and desolate setting adds to the sense of threat but also gives it a timeless quality, like the folkloric stories it evokes -- Elizabeth Fremantle A deliciously Gothic read, Mazzola entwines sinister fairy tales with the dark side of Victorian history. Daphne Du Maurier fans will be hugging this to their chests. A compelling mystery drenched with atmosphere, The Story Keeper will sweep you away in a cloud of black birds * Laura Purcell, author THE SILENT COMPANIONS * A beautifully written, and spellbinding story which took us back to the 19th century Isle of Skye, capturing the atmosphere, mystery - and menace - of an impoverished and divided island community, riddled with superstition and driven by fear. The raw measures taken to survive, and the beliefs held to make sense of a brutal and unforgiving landscape were woven magically into this extraordinary thriller -- Mary Chamberlain A dark, mesmerising tale. This is a raw, unflinching portrait of nineteenth century Skye: brutal, bleak and beautiful. There is so much here to love - the beautiful prose, the sense of place, the exploration of the power of stories to warn and to comfort. But above all, this is a powerful, unputdownable story that had me turning the pages deep into the night. A beautiful and eerie page-turner -- Antonia Senior, author of TREASON'S DAUGHTER The Story Keeper is brilliant. The imagery, the folklore, the sense of place, all of it combined is so intoxicating, creepy and compulsive. I loved it! -- Ali Land, author of GOOD ME, BAD ME A fierce and poignant novel, about superstitions & everything they conceal. For the last few chapters I was holding my breath... -- Beth Underdown, author of THE WITCHFINDER'S SISTER Fairies, folklore and a dose of historical realism - and one you'll want to get through in a single sitting * Image * A chilling and refreshingly inventive Gothic novel that constantly subverts the reader's expectations -- Andrew Taylor Chilling and atmospheric novel about the power of stories and survival * CultureFly * Wonderfully eerie and atmospheric mystery that keeps the reader enthralled from the first page right to the very last...[Anna] weaves tales of suspense and intrigue that the story keepers in the title would be proud of * Daily Express * As eerie and atmospheric as it is enthralling and beautiful * Heat * Filled with narrative drive and energy * The Sunday Times * Dripping in atmosphere, with powerful characters... this creepy tale of drowned maidens, shape-shifting spirits, changelings and bad fairies, casts its own powerful brand of dark magic * Sunday Mirror * The book has the wonderfully creepy flavour of the work of Victorian suspense novelists like Sheridan Le Fanu and even some of the dark, mysterious magic of the folk stories Audrey loves * Sunday Express * Gripping Gothic thriller * BBC History Magazine * An atmospheric and eerie read * Prima * A twisty, atmospheric crime story * Daily Mail * Rich in character and description, this is a riveting Gothic flavoured story that is shaped by local folklore, myths and legends * Woman & Home * Bleary-eyed this morning as I stayed up late to finish Anna Mazzola's The Story Keeper. Was it worth it? Hell yes -- James Oswald
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