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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting!
Sometimes you discover a book which is like a bubble that isolates you from the rest of the world. "Some kind of fairy tale" was such a book for me. I did not know the author but when I read the 'résumé' on Amazon, I just had to order it.
It was unputdownable, from the very first page. I even found myself snatching a few minutes from work to finish a...
Published 20 months ago by S. Peggy BLIN

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining book which never quite balanced all of its elements
**Minor Spoilers Implied**

Some Kind of Fairy Tale borrows liberally from British folk tales relating to the disappearance of young women, apparently taken by the fairies. In this instance the abductee, Tara, returns twenty years later, although she claims (and her appearance would suggest) that for her only six months have passed. Thereafter, the novel flits...
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting!, 6 Nov 2012
By 
S. Peggy BLIN "Booklimic" (Mauritius Island) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Sometimes you discover a book which is like a bubble that isolates you from the rest of the world. "Some kind of fairy tale" was such a book for me. I did not know the author but when I read the 'résumé' on Amazon, I just had to order it.
It was unputdownable, from the very first page. I even found myself snatching a few minutes from work to finish a chapter... I loved the author's way of mixing reality with magic. Made me ready to believe it all without questions! The story flows, easily, never boring. A tale of enchantment... I certainly was under the spell and I am without a doubt going to order his other books. Just to keep the spell on...
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous (in every sense), 28 Jan 2012
By 
D. Harris (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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A few months ago, a Channel 4 series ("Gods and Monsters") presented by Tony Robinson (of Time Team and Baldrick fame) examined the history of superstition. It told the story of Bridget Clary. In 1895 she was murdered by her husband, who believed she was a changeling, that is, not his wife at all - the real Bridget having been stolen by the fairies. Graham Joyce's novel uses this theme, postulating a similar "abduction" in 21st century England. There is a strong and intriguing opening, when Tara Martin knocks on her parents' door just after Christmas. Tara disappeared 20 years ago at the age of 16, and it was assumed that she was murdered in the mysterious Outwoods. When she reappears, insisting that she has only been absent for six months and doesn't seem to have aged a day, there are challenges for everyone - her now elderly parents, her brother Peter who has "grown up" since, and her ex boyfriend, upon whom suspicion fell. The book deals with the consequences of the situation.

Joyce weaves together Tara's own story of her experience (white horse, seductive young man, strange, fey land which she cannot get out of) with a very matter-of-fact account of everyday life for the left behind (work, pubs, children, casual police brutality). He grounds the comings and goings to the mysterious otherworld very credibly in a specific English locality, the Charnwood forest, where three counties meet (so, a border place - good for crossing into the Otherworld) which overlies a geological fault (those interested in "Earth mysteries" sometimes speculate that spooky experiences may be linked to the influences of gases and vapours seeping up from below ground, as with the oracle at Delphi. Equally, of course, those "stolen" away were thought to be somehow taken underground). This is done very well. He also creates well drawn and believable characters, and the plotting is excellent - I sat up well past midnight to finish this, I simply couldn't stop till I found out how it would finish (without giving too much away, there's a delicious sense that it might NOT have finished).

The chapter headings recount various scraps of lore concerning "fairies" (though we're advised not to call them that - they don't like it) including the tale of the unfortunate Bridget. I smiled to see Joyce introduce thoughts from William Heaney among these. Heaney, also known as Graham Joyce, was the "author" of Memoirs of a Master Forger and the reference - passing though it is - is appropriate in this book, with its themes of truth and falsehood, and how we judge them (Bridget dies because of the accusation that she had "visited" the fairies, though she says she hadn't: Tara suffers because she claims she has, though nobody will believe her).

In all, this is the best book I've read so far this year.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining book which never quite balanced all of its elements, 2 Jan 2013
By 
Amazon Customer (Leamington Spa, Warwickshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
**Minor Spoilers Implied**

Some Kind of Fairy Tale borrows liberally from British folk tales relating to the disappearance of young women, apparently taken by the fairies. In this instance the abductee, Tara, returns twenty years later, although she claims (and her appearance would suggest) that for her only six months have passed. Thereafter, the novel flits between Tara's fantastical tale, attempts to rationalise her experiences through psychiatry and the stories of those left behind.

Joyce digs deep into British mythology for his story, a fact underlined by the literary quotes and the reports of real-life encounters with the mystic that precede each chapter. The fairies of this tale owe less to Disney and more to A Midsummer Night's Dream. They're earthy, lusty free spirits with radical knowledge of physics but an unusual approach to ethics. This kind of folklore is fascinating and Joyce manages to capture some of this in a largely entertaining story with a genuinely poetic bent.

The tension between the fantastic and the mundane provide plenty of opportunity for Joyce to challenge the way in which our society works. His themes question the moral judgements that we all make in relationships, child rearing and the imposition of authority. Consequently, this is a charismatic book that is -on the whole- pretty engaging. I do, however, have gripes.

Around the core mystery, Joyce builds a series of thematically related plots. Some are very pertinent to the core narrative whilst others seem far more tangential. In particular, the strained relationship between Tara's adolescent nephew and his elderly neighbour falls into the second category. Some of the plot strands of the latter type don't resolve into the core plot or themes until very late in the novel. Given this, there are sections of the novel that drag being relatively unexciting unto themselves and apparently inconsequential overall. In fact, pace in general is a problem; the book is slow to start and then concludes very quickly.

The same divergence exists amongst the characters. Some are charming and easy to sympathise with (the ex-boyfriend whose life was put on hold by Tara's disappearance) whilst others are rather dull, feeling like cogs in the plot rather than properly realised characters. The main character, Tara, however, seems wilfully irritating. Admittedly, she is meant to be a sixteen year old, so should be expected to be headstrong and temperamental but this does not necessarily make her likeable. Perhaps we are meant to observe how her time away has changed her but I found her sometimes smug and, on at least one occasion, wantonly vengeful. For me, this left me unmoved by some of the major plot developments when asked to sympathise with her.

Finally, the text never gives a definitive answer as to whether the fae are real or an aspect of Tara's psychosis but it is pretty clear from early on where the author's preference lies. The lack of credence given to one side of the argument actually served to diminish some of the dramatic tension, making the core mystery somewhat redundant.

This is an interesting read that that is clearly well researched, constructed of delicate language and often entertaining. Too often, however, I was distracted by structural decisions made by the author that pulled me out of the text.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Contemporary take on the 'abducted by fairies' tales, 22 Aug 2012
By 
I Readalot (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Once upon a time in north Leicestershire Tara, aged 16, goes missing, it is if she has just dropped off the planet. After a long and fruitless search her parents, Peter, her older brother and Richie the besotted boyfriend have to accept she is gone forever and try to get on with their lives. Once best friends Peter and Richie become estranged, poor Richie is suspected of killing her and all he has left is his music. Twenty years later on Christmas Day Tara returns with a very strange tale to tell. All except Richie have come to terms with her loss and now have to come to terms with her return and they all react to her wild story in different ways.

`Some Kind of Fairy Tale' is a contemporary take on the classic `abducted by fairies' tale and Joyce makes no attempt to hide the fact that he was inspired and influenced by many such stories from the past. His fairies are not the sentimentalized version, they are not tiny and they don't have wings and wear pretty little dresses. I wouldn't want to meet Joyce's fairies; it is not that they are evil but dark and sinister with, by human standards, a lax view on morality and they don't like being referred to as 'fairies'.

Charnwood Forest provides the perfect setting for this story; as someone who once spent several years living within walking distance of the Outwoods I can vouch for the enchanted nature of this ancient place and the bluebells really are an impressive sight when you catch them at the right time. I haven't really thought about Charnwood Forest for a few years now but this novel took me right back rekindling memories of happy times spent in this beautiful part of England.

It is a beautifully written book but it does have - to borrow from the film industry - strong language, sexual scenes and themes of an adult nature. Graham Joyce is hardly a household name even though this is his 8th book with several of them unfortunately currently out of print. He has won both the British and World Fantasy Award and perhaps it is the `fantasy' tag that puts many readers off reading him as for many people fantasy equates to the dungeons and dragons type stories. Think magical realism, think Haruki Murakami and you will get a better idea of Joyce's style of fantasy.

`Some Kind of Fairytale' is moving, thought provoking with believable characters and wonderful descriptions and if I could give it more than 5 stars I would. Do they live happily ever after? You will have to read it to find out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable read, 7 Sep 2012
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The author is very talented, for his writing style is a real joy (or should I say styles for this title, as he swept seamlessly from one narrative to another giving us a full colour insight into the characters). The story is enjoyable, fascinating and at times surprising. I particularly enjoyed the faerie poems, songs and stories at the beginning of each chapter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars High Hopes, 17 Nov 2013
I had really high hopes for this book. I work in the same area that it was set so that was really interesting. I thought it was well written and quite an interesting idea. I did enjoy the book but did find the ending a bit of a disappointment. Not quite sure how i expected it to end but thought it was a bit weak. Although maybe i just missed the point!! i did like his style of writing though so may give another of his a go...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very eclectic and gripping, 10 Nov 2013
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I have not finished reading this yet but I am enjoying it so much that I have downloaded another of his books to read next. Joyce writes in a very engaging way and every chapter concentrates on one character and how they interact with the main character Tara. If you like the thought of fairies (in a grown up way!) then this book is for you. I don't want to spoil it by describing the characters or plot, but it is very easy to get into and I am finding it hard to put down
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful and unusual novel, 25 Aug 2012
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This was the first Graham Joyce book for me and I have to say I will be reading more of his work. This is right up my street! Fairies in the woods waiting to take you away, but not flighty ones with wings and sequin dresses, fully grown, seductive ones with a hidden agenda and a host of fantastical companions to boot. Wonderful stuff, captivating and engrossing, I had to read this at one sitting and the interwoven snippets from actual documented events made it even more enticing. Magical, believable and with a perfect setting, you must read this!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boomerang book: I chucked it but it came back ..., 9 Sep 2012
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This book earned a double first from me. A few weeks back it became the first book that annoyed me so much I chucked it across the room. It then became the first book that, having once given up, I gave a second chance.

Glad I did. 4 out of 5 stars. (It lost a star for putting a mark in the living room wall).

Seriously, why did I chuck it? A couple of annoying factual errors. Some grating clichés and (the straw that broke the camels back) a scene (in the "real" world) that I found so ludicrous the book went sailing across the room before I knew it. But I was compelled to return. Thereupon, the story became quite unputdownable.

A refreshing take on folklore. I am so close to giving back that fifth star ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars charming tale, 28 Jun 2014
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Loved this quirky story. It was good to listen to on audio book too. Highly recommended. Will definitely read more from this author
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