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I love H.S Norup’s ‘The Hungry Ghost’ (you can read my review of it here) and her follow-up is possibly even better. ‘Into the Faerie Hill’ is a fantastical, mysterious adventure with prickly tension, alot of heart, and with H.S Norup’s trademark otherworldly eeriness. It’s an absorbing, imaginative read that will be perfect for Spring 2023 when it hits the bookshops! 


When Alfred arrives at his granny’s cottage, he feels like he’s being watched. Steep cliffs and dark forests surround him, teeming with unfamiliar life - even odd little faerie creatures that only Alfred can see. However, when free-spirited Saga bursts into his life, Alfred begins to see these places that once scared him in a new way. But this special world is under threat…


This is such a wonderfully multi-layered story, which pulls you into its spell from the opening. H.S Norup masterfully balances themes of belonging, of environmentalism and protest, with a startling backdrop of folklore and enchantment. At its heart, is Alfred’s yearning to understand his sense of place in his family with a mystery concerning his dead mother which lays the crumbs for Alfred’s transformation. 


Alfred is a superb protagonist, with one shorter leg and a heart of gold, whose friendship with the sparkly, determined Saga helps him to find his own courage and accept himself. This comes about through his desire to understand what happened with his mother while at the same time helping Saga and others prevent a tunnel being built through the beautiful local landscape, and through the faerie hill. 


I loved the idea that the faerie realm fights back against environmental destruction too, and that H.S Norup has brought the faerie realm to life in its true, traditional rendering: sinister, haunting and threatening (not all sparkles and whimsy). Alfred’s granny exists between the real world and the faerie realm, and she’s just fabulous - a kind of Diana Wynne Jones creation - both warm and strange. In fact, H.S Norup has this remarkable ability to swing the narrative on the tender-hearted and the weird, with themes that are very real and important. The final image of the book sums this up wonderfully: it will leave a tear in your eye and a tingle up your spine. 


H.S Norup is a fantastic author for children - one who deserves more and more attention. This is a brilliant place to start. Pre-order for March!


Thank you to Pushkin Press for the proof copy to review. I love your books!

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