When you can find me an acre of land,
Every sage grows merry in time,
Between the ocean and the sand
Then will you be united again.
(Inspired by The Child Ballads 2 & 19)
So begins a beautiful and tragic quest as a heartbroken mother sets out to save her lost daughter, through the realms of the real, of dream, and even into the underworld itself.
But determination alone is not enough. For to save something precious, she must give up something precious, be it a song, a memory, or her freedom itself . . .
Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.
One of the many things I love about taking part in blog tours is how it has opened up my world to new authors! I had meant to read one of Joanne M Harris’s books for quite some time. When I received the email for Orfeia I jumped at the opportunity and I am so grateful that I did. It is a work of great imagination, full of magical imagery, both written and illustrated. It draws on our rich heritage of fairy tales to tell a story about loss, grief, hope and desire.
Set in the realm of the fairy folk a broken hearted mother, seeks to free her daughter and for this she must risk her own freedom and travel through a land, which though it has a close connection with human kind, is full of traps and tricks that could bind her forever within its embrace. Written in novella form, never the less the writer creates a story of epic imagination, no mean feat in a standard length novel, but an act of literary skill in this shorter novel form. The story seeming to expand beyond the words on the page to a realm of magic. You can easily imagine that if walking the streets of London, you could see the world Joanne Harris has created within your mind’s eye, because the story she creates is so vibrant. Novels are words on a page, but here they bring alive a world that lived as like a real place within my imagination.
The illustration are stunning and complement to story perfectly, adding another layer of experience to reading the book. Done well they enhance the written content and here they are the perfect match, promoting an emotional and visual connection with the story. As Neal Gainman and Chris Riddell have shown, done well, it can give us as adult readers a more immersive experience. Joanne Harris words and Bonnie Helen Hawkins illustrations create a story of stunning vibrancy. You see the characters through the illustrations and feel their emotions and motivations through the writer’s quite extraordinary ability to create a world that sits just on the edge of our imagination.
About the author
Joanne Harris is the internationally renowned and award-winning author of eighteen novels, plus novellas, scripts, short stories, libretti, lyrics, articles, and most recently, a self-help book for writers, TEN THINGS ABOUT WRITING. In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and is Chair of the Society of Authors.
Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as ‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion’. She is active on Twitter, where she writes stories and gives writing tips as @joannechocolat; she posts weekly writing seminars on YouTube; she performs in a live music and storytelling show with the #Storytime Band; and she works from a shed in her garden at her home in Yorkshire.
She also has a form of synaesthesia which enables her to smell colours. Red, she says, smells of chocolate.