Corinna Stonewall is fifteen years old and an orphan.
She is also Rhysbridge Foundling Home’s Folk Keeper – a difficult and dangerous job which consists of looking after and controlling ‘the Folk’ – spiteful, maverick, savage creatures who live in the cellar and will only be prevented from spoiling the milk, terrifying the livestock and other disruptions by gifts of cream, salt pork and similar luxuries. But there are many questions about Corinna.
Who are her parents? Why does her hair grow two inches a night? Why is she always drawn to the sea and long for the sweet taste of fish?
This was one that went on the wishlist a couple of years ago after reading this review by Ana, and I finally got around to reading it few weeks ago.
I loved Corinna, and thought she was a wonderful protagonist. (Not necessarily, immediately liable, I can see that, although I did) A really strong, opinionated, girl/young woman, who knows who she is** and wants to be, and doesn’t allow any thing to get in the way, even the fact that girls are not supposed to be Folk Keepers, and yet doesn’t have to be a nasty piece-of-work to get there.
** When I say, knows who she is, I mean who she wants to be as a person, there are plenty of things about her history/heritage she doesn’t know, and leans about during the course of the book, and one of the more interesting things about her journey is her discovering and understanding these new facts and still remaining who she is.
I also really enjoyed Finian, who himself is someone who knows who he wants to be, (a somewhat different life-plan to the expectations of his family) and I’m sure this understanding informs his interactions with Corin/Corinna. There’s an almost instant connection between the two, and even though he somehow knows almost from the off, that there is more to Corin than meets the eye, he never lets on, instead he, befriends and supports her, until circumstances force the reveal of her big secret, when they can reveal their feeling a little more openly.
Both are wonderfully realised, fully fledged characters, who even if you don’t end up loving, are complex and interesting.
Then there’s the creepy Folk people, who are proper, nasty little blighters, than run amok when left unchecked mixed in with the legend of the Selkie and the secret of Corinna’s own heritage.
All in all, it made for a a really great read, and a good way to start of the Once Upon a Time challenge, (I know I reviewed The Sigh, the other day, but this was actually my first book for the challenge, I am that lax in getting my reviews sorted at the moment! ;))
Buy: The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley