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Yes, more books
the fork of truth

She Rises is by Kate Worsely, and sits comfortably on my shelf next to Sarah Waters (note: if you do not know who Sarah Waters is LEAVE THIS PAGE IMMEDIATELY AND FIND OUT). The alphabetical serendipity also extends to the content: Kate Worsely was mentored by Waters and they both write historical fiction featuring lesbian and transgender characters.

The shelving is also relevant because where I found She Rises was in the children's section of my local Oxfam. Not that there shouldn't be more children's LGBT historical fiction; I just think it probably shouldn't include graphic sex, rape or indeed vivid depictions of eighteenth-century Navy life. So (having re-shelved it to my satisfaction): if rum, sodomy, the lash and cross-dressing lesbians are your cup of tea, you will probably enjoy this book. Especially if you also like decent writing and Plot Twists. I like all of those things, and so I enjoyed it quite a bit, although

[Spoiler (click to open)]

the ending was a little bit ambiguous and Literary Fiction-ish for my tastes, and Rebecca came over as a bit of a twat who did not deserve to be the subject of an Epic Love Quest. However, these flaws were cancelled out by the pretty writing (so pretty!) and shiny historical detail, because I am shallow like that.

Also in the children's section at Oxfam was the Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea. This is one of those book that I know I read numerous times as a kid, and yet rereading it I had NO RECOLLECTION of the story whatsoever (the opposite happened with Diane Duane's So You Want To Be A Wizard, which I was convinced I hadn't read until I finally bought it and promptly went "oh yeah..that's familiar")

Anyway, some of the things I TOTALLY FAILED to recall about
Hounds of the Morrigan were 1)how very, very Irish it is 2) talking animals and how well-done the shift between here and Tir nan n'Og is done, 3) the relationship between Pidge and Brigit – and also that Brigit is FIVE, which possibly sets new standards of extreme youth in saving the world in alternate-fantasy-land and 4) how much I LOVE the Police Sergeant and his surreal position as an adult authority figure in a crazy children's fantasy adventure. He is, to be fair, mostly played for laughs BUT I LOVE HIM ANYWAY, with his grumpiness and dogged persistence and the TERRIBLE TRAGEDY that he will never be friends with the store manager who also loves growing roses. Also the dramatic irony of his life being TOTALLY REFORMED by seeing the Morrigan's face fall off.

I'm not sure what I think about the Pidge and Brigit forgetting everything at the end. On the one hand it seems a bit of a cop-out, but on the other, it'd be a bit much to go back to their ordinary life after all that and also, as a kid, it offers the lovely, tantalizing possibility that this could have happened to you.

Which is rather cool.

The weirdest thing, I think, was seeing all the ways that a book I have no memory of affected the ways in which I see the world and think about writing. And, looking back, it must have been a huge influence on my crazy childhood obsession ongoing love affair with Irish mythology (come on, who can resist a mythos with a Giant Heroic Saga that's effectively based on snafflin' coobeasties?)


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