Published by Tor.com on January 8, 2019
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This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.
When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she's found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.
Bantering Books Review
I adore a good fairy tale.
I always have. I probably always will.
Fairy tales bring me back to my childhood. They fill me with such wonder. Such magic.
As does Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series.
In an Absent Dream is the fourth installment in McGuire’s series of short novellas — and it is definitely my most favorite so far. I wish I could give it more than five stars; I love it so much.
This time, McGuire rewinds and tells the story of Lundy, who as a young, serious, and logical girl, has a bit more than marriage and motherhood in mind for her future. Constricted by the familial and societal constraints imposed upon her, she longs to be free and to one day live a life of her choosing.
Until unexpectedly, Lundy stumbles upon a door — a magical door that leads her to the forested world of the Goblin Market. A world she comes to believe is her true home. But everything at the Goblin Market has a cost. Fair value must always be given in an exchange. And Lundy must look inward and answer difficult questions about what constitutes fair value for a home . . . and for her life.
Simply put, In an Absent Dream is gorgeous. Inspired by Christina Rossetti’s poem, Goblin Market, McGuire has written a wonderful little fairy tale for our time. As in the three previous Wayward Children novellas, she tells yet another bittersweet story of an outsider trying to fit in . . . trying to find her place in the world . . . trying to find a world accepting of her.
And like all good fairy tales . . . I adored it.
Especially the writing –McGuire’s prose is absolutely stunning. Her lyrical use of language completely envelopes the reader and creates a special sort of magic that few authors are able to replicate. In an Absent Dream radiates an aura of timelessness, a sense that a fairy tale of olde is being read.
But what amazes me most of all, I think, is McGuire’s ability to pack so much punch into such a relatively short story. Each novella in the Wayward Children series is barely longer than 200 pages, but they are all so meaningfully written and filled with so much heart.
And a touch of sadness, too. For it is sad, to feel as if you don’t belong in the world in which you live. Is it not? Tragic, even.
With that, I will leave you. I’m off to read the next Wayward Children novella, Come Tumbling Down. I’m very much looking forward to discovering what Jack and Jill have been up to, if they went up the hill and what not. I will, of course, share my thoughts after I am finished.
In the meantime, why don’t you go ahead and give the first novella in the series, Every Heart a Doorway, a try?
Rediscover the magic of fairy tales for yourself.