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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Sabrina Fludde by Pauline Fisk

When Abren becomes conscious of her surroundings, she is struggling to get out of the flooded river Severn with her only possession, a beautifully embroidered cloth, clutched in her arms. What is she doing in the water, who is she, where can she go? And so begins the unfolding of a story, that snakes and turns like the river itself, surprising the reader on every level. A wonderful magical fantasy of a story that follows the journey of a girl's life over many centuries and across huge terrain. Pauline Fisk is a marvellous storyteller whose canvas is huge and whose delving into mythology makes for astounding reading. Praise for Sabrina Fludde: 'Ancient and modern worlds are cleverly entwined in a multi-layered novel packed with big writing and even bigger ideas' Guardian 'A magical, dreamy fantasy that takes hold if you and, like the river, carries you along in its powerful current' Financial Times (Pick of the Month)

This book is set around the River Severn, which is local to me and when I was approached to review this I was interested to read it. The story is based in a town called Pengwern which is loosely based on the historic town of Shrewsbury.

The story begins with a body being carried along the river, and this is where the mystery begins. The body is that of a young girl, who appears to be dead, but as she nears the castle, she begins to struggle and the river lands her on a small beach. The girl appears to have no recollection of who she is, where she came from, where she calls home, or any of her own history and takes the life of a runaway, sleeping rough and hiding in the town's shadows. She befriends another mysterious boy, Phase II who has a home under a bridge, where he looks after an old lady, Old Sabrina. 

The story is full of mystery and as I read through the book I began to have my own thoughts as to who the young girl, Abren, really was and also that of Old Sabrina. I enjoyed the historical and mythical parts of the book and I found the authors writing style to be enjoyable to read, with much history being included within the book, however I found it much more enjoyable that much historical fiction which I have read in the past. It is obvious that the author must have undertaken lots of research into the river and the area before writing this book and this adds to the enjoyment of the book, being local to where I live and have visited. 

I notice that this book is the first in a trilogy and I will be seeking out the other two books to read in the future.  

Thank you to the author and the publisher, Bloomsbury, for sending me the book to review.

1 comment:

  1. I've just found this review, Sarah. Thanks to you, too, for reading the book and giving it a review. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I see you're interested in reading the other two books. 'The Red Judge' starts out in Pengwern [Shrewsbury] too, but follows the journey of the second river flowing out of Plynlimon Mountain, the Wye, and the third book, 'Mad Dog Moonlight', follows the journey of Plynlimon's third great river, the Rheidol, from the sea at Aberystwyth back to the lonely mountain top where, within just a mile of each other, these three fabulous rivers, with their fascinating mythologies, have their source. I hope you enjoy them too.