I'm not exaggerating when I say that Peter Beagle is one of the best writers in the world. If you read fantasy, you've certainly read his novel "The Last Unicorn," voted one of the five best fantasy novels of all time. It's always a treat when he gifts us with a new story, which isn't often. In "Tamsin," he tries out a new style, very unlike anything he's written before. It's a twist on the classic ghost story, written from the viewpoint of a headstrong, 14-year old Bronx-raised girl who's trying to come to terms with her mother's remarriage, and with their new home: a run-down, 300-year old manor in the English countryside. If that wasn't bad enough, it turns out that the huge old house and farm that her family's trying to renovate are positively bustling with supernatural activity. Cold drafts, distant voices, boggarts in the kitchen, and things that go bump in the night. This supernatural world takes on an entirely new aspect for Jenny, however, when she discovers Tamsin, the ghost of a 19-year old girl who lived and "stopped," as she puts it, 300 years ago in the manor when it was first built. Tamsin is beautiful, mysterious and compelling, but as their friendship grows, Jenny is drawn deeper and deeper into the strange world of the "old country," and into deadly peril.
This is a great book for young and old alike. It's very compelling; you won't be able to put it down until the very end. Like most of Peter's books, the story runs the whole emotional range, from funny to sad to terrifying to joyous. And throughout, there's always the mystery and secret of Tamsin, unfolding piece by piece in Peter's Beagle's truly exhilarating, masterful, fairy-tale like style.