This odd little tale by the author of "The Summerhouse Trilogy" is set in the Welsh countryside and is peopled by an eccentric cast of characters, including a shepherd, a gamekeeper, and four roving men with vaguely religious purpose. At the center are Eloise and Simon, a young couple who have fled city life. Eloise, an accomplished seamstress, is content to spend her days sewing nightclothes for trendy shops, tending her cat, cooking for Simon, and traipsing about her garden with bare feet and flowers in her hair. All that is missing from her life is a baby. Simon, who does odd jobs and woodwork, is less anxious to start a family. To distract Eloise, Simon enlists her mother, Clare, and her mother's friend, Miriam, to come for a visit. The women, both confirmed Londoners, depressed over being aging singles and rather fond of drink, find life in pastoral Wales very strange indeed. Things get stranger still after Eloise arrives home with a baby of unknown origin and with mysterious powers. Though well told, this tale will mainly appeal to Ellis fans and readers with a fondness for Welsh myth. Not essential.‘Barbara Love, Kingston P.L., Ont.
Strange goings-on in the Welsh countryside lie at the center of Booker Prize-nominee Alice Thomas Ellis's Fairy Tale, a "supernatural comedy of manners" first published in 1996 in the U.K. Young Eloise's rural ennui is broken by intrusions from the spirit world, including the appearance of four mysterious men in black, a changeling child and the ability to walk in a rainstorm without getting wet. Unbeknownst to her and her boyfriend, Simon, they are the intruders in a land ruled by the Kings of the Heights. A pleasantly diverting take on an old genre, this is perhaps too self-consciously quirky to grab a large U.S. audience. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.