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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.)
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*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
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