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Solstice Wood [Hardcover]

Patricia Mckillip
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 33.00 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Feb. 7 2006
No stranger to the realms of myth and magic, World Fantasy Award winning author Patricia A. McKillip presents her first contemporary fantasy in years. Solstice Wood is a tale of the tangled lives we mere mortals lead, when we turn our eyes from the beauty and mystery that lie just outside of the everyday.

When her beloved grandfather dies, bookstore owner Sylvia Lynn knows she must finally return to her childhood home in upstate New York and face the grandmother who raised her and the woods which so beguiled- and frightened-her. But it's not until she meets the Fiber Guild-a group of local women who meet to knit, embroider, and sew-that Sylvia learns why her grandmother watches her so. A primitive power exists in the forest, a force the Fiber Guild seeks to bind in its stitches and weavings. And Sylvia is no stranger to the woods.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

World Fantasy Award–winner McKillip revisits the setting of her masterful novel Winter Rose (1996) in this compelling contemporary fantasy. Summoned home for her grandfather's funeral, Sylvia Lynn arrives with the intention of leaving as soon as possible. Once there, however, she feels the treacherous pull of the old house, the shadowy forest around it and the otherworldly beings who live there. Sylvia's grandmother introduces her to the Fiber Guild, women who meet once a month to sew the magical barriers that protect Lynn Hall from the fay, "a cold, loveless, dangerous people." But the hall's protective magic has weakened, leaving Sylvia—both mortal and faery herself—vulnerable as "the bridge across the boundaries" between the two worlds. Can generations of mistrust and long-hoarded secrets yield to a truce, let alone a new understanding and even trust between faery and human? Though McKillip has traded her usual lyrical style for a sparser approach, she doesn't stint on characterization, mood or mystery in this multilayered tale. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Sylvia Lynn owns a thriving bookstore in Los Angeles, where she has spent most of her adult life avoiding her past and the grandmother who raised her. But when her beloved grandfather dies, she knows she must go to Lynn Hall, the huge, old house that has been the Lynn family's center for generations, and to the frightening, tantalizing wood behind it. Returning, she is surprised when Gram invites her to attend the Fiber Guild, a sewing circle that's been around forever, for Sylvia can't even thread a needle. True shock comes when she learns that the circle is a coven of witches working spells with their knitting and needlework that protect Lynn Hall and the town from the ancient powers of the forest and the evil Fay, and that the spells are unraveling faster than the witches can weave, and paths between worlds are reopening. The Fay kidnap Sylvia's 14-year-old cousin, Tyler, replacing him with a changeling. Sylvia finds a way into the wood's magical realm to look for him but hasn't a clue as to where he is or how to find the way back. If she manages to return, her long, closely kept secret will be out--and then will the people she loves most accept her, and Gram still love her? McKillip dazzles with this lovely tale of fairy and human worlds meeting and melding. Paula Luedtke
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the forest Feb. 14 2006
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Most sequels are only pale copies of the original story. But Patricia McKillip writes a sequel like nobody else.

Returning to the dreamlike Tam Lin storyline of "Winter Rose," McKillip spins up a new story in modern times. Sure, there are laptops, cell phones and green hair. But her lush writing and glimpses of a sinister, beautiful Otherworld are still firmly in place.

Generations of Lynns have lived at Lynn Manor, going back to Lynn Corbett and Rois Melior. Now Sylvia returns to it for her grandfather's funeral, only to find that he has willed the run-down manorhouse to her. She doesn't want it, preferring her urban bookstore to the eerie beauty of her old home.

But when she encounters visions of faerie and a sewing circle/coven, Sylvia must deal with the fact that there is magic. And it has taken root in her own family: one relation is besotted with a wood nymph, while her teenage cousin has been replaced by a fay changeling. To save them, Sylvia must confront her own mysterious past... and her fay blood.

Don't expect a copy or direct follow-up to "Winter Rose." The two stories are linked here and there, but not so that "Solstice Wood" relies on the past. Instead, it's a haunting story in its own right, which can almost make you believe that a magical, terrifying Otherworld exists right next to ours, and that that knitting-obsessed old lady might be a guardian witch.

This book is also written differently: McKillip switches perspective several times, from Sylvia to her grandmother, even to the changeling that replaces Tyler. And during the more contemporary scenes, she switches to less ornate language. But her lush writing hits its stride when the supernatural slips into the story, full of cobwebs, moonlight, water and woodlands.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable story in its own right March 9 2008
By CanadianMother TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Solstice Wood is somewhat of a sequel to McKillip's enchanting book, Winter Rose--but not completely. This book is set in the same place, but in the modern era, many generations later, and although there are a few mentions of Rois Melior, the main character of Winter Rose, she does not actually feature in the story. So it is not a direct continuation of the first book. It would be quite possible to read this book without having read Winter Rose, and still enjoy it, for it is a captivating and well-written story in its own right.

I can't say I was quite as spellbound by this book as I was by Winter Rose, for with the modern setting and less lyrical language, it did not seem as mysterious and otherworldly. Furthermore, I think I preferred Rois's single viewpoint in Winter Rose to the multiple viewpoints in Solstice Wood, which were sometimes jarring. But still, I found it difficult to put down. The writing was top quality. And I did really enjoy the ending, which was quite unexpected.

If you are looking for a quick, fairly light read, and fantasy set in modern times--especially if you enjoy stories where the human world collides with the fairy world, then I would recommend this book. If you enjoyed Winter Rose, then most certainly you should read this too, as it's interesting to see what has happened to Lynn hall generations later.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical "Wood" Feb. 14 2006
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Most sequels are only pale copies of the original story. But Patricia McKillip writes a sequel like nobody else.

Returning to the dreamlike Tam Lin storyline of "Winter Rose," McKillip spins up a new story in modern times. Sure, there are laptops, cell phones and green hair. But her lush writing and glimpses of a sinister, beautiful Otherworld are still firmly in place.

Generations of Lynns have lived at Lynn Manor, going back to Lynn Corbett and Rois Melior. Now Sylvia returns to it for her grandfather's funeral, only to find that he has willed the run-down manorhouse to her. She doesn't want it, preferring her urban bookstore to the eerie beauty of her old home.

But when she encounters visions of faerie and a sewing circle/coven, Sylvia must deal with the fact that there is magic. And it has taken root in her own family: one relation is besotted with a wood nymph, while her teenage cousin has been replaced by a fay changeling. To save them, Sylvia must confront her own mysterious past... and her fay blood.

Don't expect a copy or direct follow-up to "Winter Rose." The two stories are linked here and there, but not so that "Solstice Wood" relies on the past. Instead, it's a haunting story in its own right, which can almost make you believe that a magical, terrifying Otherworld exists right next to ours, and that that knitting-obsessed old lady might be a guardian witch.

This book is also written differently: McKillip switches perspective several times, from Sylvia to her grandmother, even to the changeling that replaces Tyler. And during the more contemporary scenes, she switches to less ornate language. But her lush writing hits its stride when the supernatural slips into the story, full of cobwebs, moonlight, water and woodlands.

Sylvia is a likable heroine, with a very weird family who is tangled up in the fairy world. She starts as an aggressively normal "working girl", but gradually changes as she explores her otherworldly ancestry. The other characters -- lonely Owen and grieving grandma Iris -- are delicately drawn, and Tyler is probably the most endearing of all, since he seems the most real. Yes, even when kidnapped by fairies.

Patricia McKillip spins another magical fantasy in "Solstice Wood," where the real world and the Otherworld collide. Lyrical and captivating.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars faerie rings April 4 2008
By Linda Pagliuco - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Solstice Wood, by Patricia A. McKillip, is the sequel to Winter Rose, a love story about a human woman who fell in love with a "fay" man. Solstice Wood is set in the same American town, and the same house, but in modern times. Sylvia Lynn comes from a family that has lived in Lynn Hall for generations. Several years back, she left home rather abruptly, moving across the country, but now she must return for the funeral of her beloved grandfather. Sylvia is stunned to learn that Lynn Hall is now hers, according to her grandfather's will. She plans to stay only a few days, and on her last evening, attends the Fiber Guild, a women's club that has met at Lynn Hall for a century. It becomes more and more clear that something peculiar is going on, for the guild members seem unusually intent upon their designs and stitches.

I won't set down any spoilers about what happens to Syl and her family. This is an enticing story, part reality, part fantasy, with more than a touch of magic yet somehow credible. It incorporates many classic folkloric motifs and themes, but the one that most interested me is the needlework connection. In mythology and folklore, spinning, sewing, and threads play an important role. In story of the labyrinth and the Minotaur, for example, a thread is laid so the hero can find his way back out. The 3 Fates, spinning, weaving, and finally cutting the thread, represent the cycle of life. Fairy tale heroines prick their fingers on needles or spindles, or are forced into a life of endless spinning.

In Solstice Wood, the Fiber Guild's creations are designed to protect one world from another, using age old methods known to wise women everywhere. Today fiber artists recognize and appreciate the stress relieving properties of needlework. By reading such books as Solstice Wood, and by studying the magical properties of women's work and women's powers in folklore, I've come to appreciate the fiber arts in another way.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars deep character driven modern day fantasy Feb. 8 2006
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Gram calls bookstore owner Sylvia Lynn to come home as Grandpa Liam just died after wandering outside in the cold night of mountainous Upstate New York. Her lover Madison offers to accompany her, but Sylvia says no. Sylvia returns to Lynn Hall the same day that Gram beckoned her to come home with all intentions to flee as soon as she can.

However, as if she never left, the dilapidated house, the forest and the nearby supernatural creatures seduce Sylvia trying to entice her to stay. Gram introduces Sylvia to the sewing club members of the Fiber Guild, women who meet monthly to insure that the magical barricade that keeps Lynn Hall from the deadly Fay remains in tact. However, the magical barrier is showing signs of wear and tear, which places Sylvia, a hybrid offspring of two worlds, yanked from both sides who feel she is the key to victory over the hated abominations on the other side of the barrier.

Returning to the landscape of the classic WINTER ROSE, Patricia A. McKillip provides a deep character driven modern day fantasy that stars a harassed heroine who just wants to leave town as she has never understood why her Gram watches her like a hawk observes its prey. The action-packed story hooks genre fans from the moment that Sylvia knows Gram is calling her before picking up her phone from across the country and never slows down through several brilliant twists that will bring accolades to this dazzling author. A stand alone novel, readers will want to peruse this tale and its award winning precedent.

Harriet Klausner
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another enjoyable McKillip fantasy April 21 2006
By Elisabeth Carey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is McKillip's first contemporary fantasy, although it's related to the earlier Winter Rose, and tells the story of some of the descendants of Rois Melior and Corbet Lynn.

Sylvia Lynn reluctantly returns to her childhood home, Lynn Hall on the death of her grandfather, determined to avoid any entanglements with her family or the house, and to return as quickly as possible to her bookstore and the lover she refuses to marry. She's horrified when she discovers her grandfather has made her the sole heir to Lynn Hall. Gradually we learn that this reluctance is due not to a dislike of the house or to strained relations with her relatives, but to her own dark secret. Lynn Hall's purpose is to protect the world from incursions by the heartless hosts of Faerie-and Sylvia's unknown father was of Faerie. She's part of what Lynn Hall is supposed protect against, and the only way she can avoid being hated by her grandmother and the rest of the family and close friends, and possibly also being a danger to them, is to stay as far away as possible. But Great-Uncle Hurley is seeing fairies in the woods through his telescope, family friend Owen Avery has a fairy lover, cousin Tyler is stolen and replaced by a changeling, and Tyler's girl friend's father has discovered just enough that he thinks he can blackmail Gram and her coven into turning the Lynn Hall estate into an occult-themed theme park. Oh, and Gram's grown careless with her stitching the last ten years or so, and Lynn Hall's protections are breaking down. With disaster unfolding all around her, Sylvia has to confront her origins and her family if anything she cares about is going to survive.

Very enjoyable, and similar in feel to some of Nora Roberts' magic-themed romances.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suprising Solstice March 8 2006
By S. Porter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I admit, I purchased the book because I have enjoyed most of MckIllip's other works. I was suprised to discover it was a contempory setting (the modern world, presuming of course magic and faery exist in the modern world).

I enjoyed Solstice Wood more than I expected. The speaker switches between characters and it is a change to see the same scene from different perspectives.

The first premise has become a classic one, woman returning home to mansion after fleeing to the big city. There are unusual twists in how the magic manifests and why the woman has fled away from her home.

The many characters are nicely developed, and make one interested in why they do what they do.
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