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Tamsin [Hardcover]

Peter Beagle
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 30.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Description

From Amazon

Peter S. Beagle creates magic in this coming-of-age ghost story, returning to a subgenre he first explored in A Fine and Private Place. When her mother remarries, 13-year-old narrator Jenny Gluckstein moves from New York City to a run-down, haunted, 300-year-old farm in Dorset, England. In slow-moving early chapters, unhappy Jenny's beloved Mister Cat is quarantined for six months and she must attend an English girl's school. Jenny's voice is painfully genuine, her self-description merciless. If early adolescence brings on flashbacks, wait to read this book.

The pace picks up when Mister Cat returns and Jenny meets Meena Chari, whose belief in the supernatural comes from growing up in ghost-ridden India. First Mister Cat finds a new girlfriend, a ghostly Persian Cat only he and Jenny can see. Then she and her younger stepbrother, Julian, confront a boggart who's been playing tricks on the family. The gnome-like boggart is dressed in a Seven Dwarves hat, Robin Hood garb, "and heavy little boots, ankle-high--I'd have taken them for Doc Martens, except I don't think they make them in boggart sizes." The boggart warns her to beware of the ghost cat, her mistress, and "the Other One" most of all. But one afternoon she follows Mister Cat to meet Tamsin Willoughby, ghost of the farm-founder's daughter. Tamsin is friendly, but won't tell Jenny anything about the Other One, or talk about Edric, apparently her lost love. To free Tamsin's ghost, Jenny must relive the tragic history of 17th-century Dorset and face grave danger.

Tamsin is vintage Beagle: there's a shape-shifting Pooka, a ghostly love story, music, the Goddess, and the Wild Hunt. It's beautifully written and can be read on several levels, including as a loving homage to Thomas Hardy's moody novels (Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd) and poetry (Selected Poems). Or you can lose yourself in the story. Fans of The Last Unicorn will enjoy this one. --Nona Vero

From Publishers Weekly

Like his enchanting The Last Unicorn, Beagle's newest fantasy features characters so real they leap off his pages and into readers' souls. Tamsin Willoughby, dead some 300 years, haunts ramshackle old Stourhead Farm in Dorset, England, an ancient 700-acre estate that 13-year-old Jenny's new, English stepfather is restoring. Thoroughly American Jenny, miserable at being transplanted from New York City to rural Britain, finds a suffering kindred spirit in Tamsin, a ghost who is mourning Edric, a love she lost during Dorset's punitive Bloody Assizes under King James II. Tamsin leads Jenny through an engrossing night world inhabited by an array of British spiritsAthe Black Dog, a braggart Boggart, ominous Oakmen, the shapeshifting Pooka and a marvelous mystical army-booted Earth Mother. To save Tamsin and gentle Edric from eternal torment, Jenny faces evil personified: demonic Judge Jeffries, who sentenced hundreds of people to brutal execution during the Assizes. Slipping effortlessly between Jenny's brash 1999 lingo, the raw primeval dialect of ancient Dorset and Tamsin's exquisite Jacobean English, Beagle has created a stunning tale of good battling evil, of wonder and heartbreak and of a love able to outlast the worst vileness of the human heart. Fantasy rarely dances through the imagination in more radiant garb than this. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

When her mother remarries, Jenny reluctantly moves to England, convinced that her young life has taken a turn for the worse. Once ensconced in an old house in rural Dorset, however, Jenny encounters the ghost of a young girl whose plight binds her to the world of the living in spite of her desire to experience what lies beyond death. The author of The Last Unicorn tells an engaging story of a friendship that transcends time in his latest novel. Steeped in English folklore and ghost stories, this gracefully written story is suitable for both adult and YA readers. For most fantasy collections.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Jenny Gluckstein is an affluent, pot-smoking, spoiled, certain-she's-ugly New York City teenager. She goes on for a while in a whiny, Holden Caulfield^-like persona, which is a little hard to take. Luckily, her mother, Sally, a musician, falls in love with an agronomist named Evan and follows him to Dorset, England, because he has been hired to restore to productivity a rundown farm. Jenny, tagging along, remains sullen, but in spite of herself feels drawn to the old house and to the farm itself, full of dark woods and mysterious meadows where she hears voices. Chasing her cat, Jenny catches a glimpse of what he's chasing: a female cat, as it turns out, a 300-year-old ghost of a cat, who belongs to a ghost, Tamsin Willoughby, who is marooned in a secret chamber that Jenny presently discovers. Because Tamsin's soul is uneasy, it haunts the farm where she died; but to unhappy Jenny, Tamsin is a secret friend from whom she draws advice and solace. Eventually, in helping poor Tamsin find the secret of her lost love and defeat the "Wild Hunt," or the lost souls that swarm through the air at odd times, pursued by demons, Jenny grows up and is able to look back upon her tale from the grand old age of 19. Although nowhere labeled as such, Tamsin is a fine young adult novel. Despite its meandering beginning, it may be the best of its kind this year. John Mort

From Kirkus Reviews

Contemporary ghost yarn from the author of Giant Bones (1997), etc. Thirteen-year-old Jenny Gluckstein leaves New York with her mother, Sally, to live with her new family, English stepfather Evan and stepbrothers Tony and Julian, in bucolic Dorset, England. Agricultural biologist Evan will invigorate a rundown farm and fix up its huge, dilapidated old manor house. Meanwhile, Jenny seethes with resentment at the unwelcome relocationuntil she discovers that the house is haunted by a mischievous boggart. Next, her beloved Mister Cat finds his way up to the closed-off third floor, returning with a ghost cat that only Jenny can see! She talks things over with the boggart, then banishes him with a gift of reading spectacles. Up on the third floor, Jenny meets the ghost of Tamsin Willoughby, who died aged 20 more than 300 years ago. In Tamsin's company, Jenny meets other supernatural creatures: the shapeshifting, untrustworthy Pooka, the ominous Black Dog, the billy-blind with his badly timed good adviceand the terrifying Wild Hunt screaming across the sky. Slowly, talking with local historians, drawing out Tamsin's recollections, Jenny pieces together a tragic story that hinges on the 17th-century Monmouth rebellion and its aftermath, the bloody reprisals exacted by Judge Jeffries. But what dreadful secret binds the ghosts of Tamsin and her innocent sweetheart together with the Judge's horrid, monomaniacal shadeand the terrible Wild Hunt itself? An appealing intermingling of history, folklore, and the supernatural, but no real chills or tensionand lively young Jenny simply overwhelms everybody else. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review

Stunning. -- Publisher's Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Peter S. Beagle, a World Fantasy Award nominee, is the bestselling author of the fantasy classic The Last Unicorn as well as many other highly acclaimed works. His novels and stories have been translated into sixteen languages worldwide, and his long and fascinating career has covered everything from journalism and stage adaptations to songwriting and performances. He has given readings, lectures, and concerts of his own songs from coast to coast, and has written several screenplays, including Ralph Bakshi's film version of The Lord of the Rings.
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From AudioFile

Teenager Jenny Gluckstein wasn't looking forward to leaving New York City for a new life in the Dorset countryside, but she couldn't have expected the "old weirdness" she finds. Tamsin, the ghost of a traumatized young woman, haunts her stepfather's estate, along with a variety of night creatures both friendly and fearsome. To save her new friend, Jenny must learn what happened more than three hundred years ago. Author Peter S. Beagle doesn't sound a bit like a teenaged girl as he reads the first-person narration, but he still captures Jenny's inflections and personality well. He also creates a variety of well-defined supporting characters. This novel is too intense for younger readers, but older teens will find it enjoyable. J.A.S. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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