Fire and Hemlock

Fire and Hemlock

Book - 1985
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At nineteen, Polly has two sets of sometimes overlapping, sometimes conflicting memories, the real-life ones of school days and her parents' divorce, and the heroic adventure ones that began the day she accidentally gate-crashed a funeral and met the cellist Thomas Lynn.
Publisher: New York : Greenwillow Books, c1985
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780688039424
Characteristics: 341 p. ; 24 cm


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Jul 07, 2018

On the surface, this appears to be a somewhat boring British children's book about a girl with a mysterious older friend. Not so! This was my first introduction to the story of Tam Lin, and the elements of that traditional Scottish folktale are woven seamlessly into main character Polly's life. Do not dismiss anything as "just coincidence" here - author Diana Wynne Jones was a master storyteller, and she has left clues as to what is really going on sprinkled throughout the story. The ending, as many have noted, is a bit of a facer - but then you get the pleasure of re-reading the book and figuring out where it came from! This book was marketed originally to children, but is complex enough to hold an adult's interest. If you like magical realism, or real-world fantasy, this is a book you should definitely check out!

Jul 25, 2016

was anyone else really confused by this book? I mean, I got three quarters through and then it was the climax and i was like, "what is going on??"
Also- I was kind of weirded out with Tom and Polly together. I pictured them like the BFG and Sophie so.....
Anyway, I liked the writing and idea.

Jun 21, 2016

I've loved all the books I've read by Diana Wynne Jones (especially Howl's Moving Castle) and this one was good. There's a lot going on in it - not only Polly's life with her mom, dad, and granny, but her relationship with Tom Lynn, her friends, and her own vision of herself as a hero. The writing style is captivating - I really did not want to put it down. However, I was confused by a lot of things and felt like it went over my head. I wasn't sure if this was because I haven't read all the reference materials that DWJ used for this (read the essay in the back) or because she was deliberately trying to be confusing. From what other people have said, I think the latter. Also, I felt somewhat uncomfortable about Tom and Polly, although it is never really seen as a romantic relationship till the end. Overall, I recommend this if you like fairy tales, fantasy, and literature.

Jun 26, 2014

I never liked the Diana Wynne Jones books, I only read three pages and I lost interest. But maybe its just not my style, don't let this comment change your mind in reading it.

May 12, 2013

A great read that builds fascinating, believable characters. The story comes to life, leaving you questioning the reality of life and what goes on behind.

Dec 08, 2012

To me this was a boring book. Most of it was about Polly's life with Thomas Lynn. It took me a long time to finish because I always got annoyed at Polly( she's so UGH!) and I couldn't get into the feel of the book. The ending is creative , I will admit, but too quick to take in. Don't let my comment change your mind about reading it though, if you think it sounds intresting, go for it! Not everyone has the same opinion!

May 01, 2011

There were a few parts that were hard to chew through, but overall this was an engaging read. The magic was so seamlessly woven into reality that the plot always had you guessing. Try it for yourself!


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