About The Book
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.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. When Audrey travels to Skye to help capture the folktales from the islanders she isn’t prepared for what faces her. She is running away from her life in London, the details why are revealed as you read. But she is heading into danger. A danger that it is unclear whether it comes from the legends or reality.
This book had everything I enjoy. I do know that the fairy tales I read as a child were made less intimidating by the Brothers Grimm. The ones that are mentioned in the book have really ignited my interest in the original stories. It was interesting to see the frustration felt by this practice as well as the determination of others that the legends should be forgotten.
I was aware of how women were regarded at this time, some of the changes that were starting to emerge at time were part of the storyline. They helped create a true picture of how life was for Audrey with her father. The history of the cleansing of Shetland I had never heard of. I was shocked by the level of callousness and disregard for the islanders. Sadly it was also believable. The author has provided links to more information about this which I plan to look at in the future.
The mystery of the missing girls and the storyline concerning the disappearance of Audrey’s mother is just one small part of this novel. It interested me and I was aching to know what happened but for me the fascination was the legends, gaining trust from the community and the superstitions.