Header Picture

Header Picture

Friday, March 28, 2014

Thomas the Rhymer - Ellen Kushner

Read for the Once Upon a Time VIII Reading Challenge.

Thomas the Rhymer is an old tale, based on a real man in medieval Scotland.      In the old ballads, Thomas meets the Queen of Elfland, and is taken away by her to her realm, where he lives for seven years.    After that, he returns to the mortal world, where he is given the gift of prophecy.

What I really liked about this retelling is that only the time in Elfland is told from Thomas’ point of view.   Before and after that time are told from the points of view of his adoptive parents, and the girl he loves, who later marries him.      It’s a neat little twist, and a good way to see how his time in Elfland has affected him.

It’s also a good historical retelling.   I mean, yes, he does go to Elfland for seven years, but the time in the real world on either side is vivid, and true.    I think it actually makes the journey into Elfland all the more interesting, because there is such a contrast.      It’s a lovely retelling.

6 comments:

Delia (Postcards from Asia) said...

I haven't heard about this one but it sounds lovely by your description. Retellings are a great way to remind us of old stories and ballads.

Jenn said...

It's one of my favorites - so well done!

Cheryl @ Tales of the Marvelous said...

Ah, I love retellings...and I feel like this is a tale I've flirted with in stories that reference or touch on it, but I don't know that I've read much in straight retelling...
And here I was thinking I had to stop adding to my TBR list just before I clicked here...

Megan said...

Cheryl - I'm pretty sure I added this book to my acquire list based on a past iteration of this challenge...

Lynn said...

I love retellings. In this case I'm not sure I've heard of the original but it sounds lovely.
Lynn :D

Grace @Bookswithoutanypictures said...

Great book! I'm a sucker for faery tales/legends retold, and Kushner did it so incredibly well. :)