marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

The Bell At Sealey Head

The Bell At Sealey Head by Patricia McKillip

There is a bell at Sealey Head.  They know it because every day, at sundown, it rings.

Like many sounds that happen every single day, people come to expect and even not really hear it.  Some of them, at any rate.

Judd Cauley hears it, even as he tries to run his father' s inn, which has fallen on hard times.  (Partly because of the very poor cooking of their cook.)  Though as the novel opens, he has acquired a guest, Ridley Dow, well-to-do, and drawn to Sealey Head by the sound of the bell.

Gwyneth Blair hears it and writes her little stories, trying again and again to tell its story.  Despite that, and her unpreposing looks, she is being wooed by Raven Sproule, who is the son of the local squire and doesn't really hear the bell.

And Emma at the house of Lady Eglantyne hears it.  More important to her, she opens doors sometimes, and instead of leading to the room on the other side, they show her the Princess Ysabo.  They talk, but neither she nor the princess ever cross the threshold.  And Lady Eglantyne is dying.

It all fits together.  There was a point, early in the story, where I wondered whether she was starting too many rabbits, despite the interlacing even in the opening chapters, but within the next chapter, they were fitting together elegantly into a plot.

In lovely English, of course.  And not the lovely English that sometimes afflicted her books, in which it is so gorgeous that I couldn't figure out what was going on.  Clear, beautiful, lovely English.
Tags: fiction reviews: high fantasy, genre: fantasy, patricia a. mckillip, style

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