Midori Snyder, hannah's garden (Viking, 2002)
Well, I must say I was quite surprised when our Lady Grey asked me to write a review for this charming magazine. I am here as an observer for my Lady of the Winter Court, and I had not anticipated such an honor. Still, the dear lady promised me a new tale of the Summer and Winter Courts... 'Twould have been churlish to deny her at any rate, and with such an enticement set before me, too. Imagine my delight at the discovery that the charming little novel she sent me by way of the brownies was by none other than Midori Snyder, a lovely lady quite well known to Us in the Lands of Faerie.
Miss Snyder is a wonderful writer, with a confidence and style that so many mortal storytellers sadly lack. hannah's garden is the deceptively simple tale of a nubile young violinist named Cassie, her dear yet apparently demented grandfather Daniel, and a battle between two Fey clans with Cassie's family at the center of the conflict. In the garden of the title, planted by Cassie's mysterious great-grandmother Hannah, Cassie will discover her family heritage of myth, magick, and sacrifice. For the border between the world of mortals and the world of Faerie is closing, and unless the mysterious grey-haired fiddler can convince Cassie to take up the traditional family bargain with the fey, the Green Clan will lose the battle to keep the way open. The Red Clan will take an unwilling sacrifice at random to open the border, and then they will control the gate. In the end, a willing -- and surprising -- mortal sacrifice must take place to ensure victory for the Green Clan.
Tis always fascinating for me to explore the different visions of my People from the mortal point of view. What a lot of interesting tales you tell of us! Emma Bull, Charles de Lint, Terri Windling...ah, that Tolkien lad! Yes, so many creative interpretations of my Folk. Take hannah's garden for example; this is not, in sooth, a tale of Summer and Winter Courts. Nay, this is a tale of two separate factions of the uncontrolled, unBound fey, those beings of field and forest who are part of what we call the Wild Magic. Truly, the Red Clan and the Green Clan of hannah's garden are but two sides of the same Wild coin. Perhaps the Red Clan embraces the magic of blood and decay while the Green flourishes amidst wildflowers and herbs, but again these are merely two sides of Nature. One cannot exist without the other.
What is it about beauty that lulls mortals so? For I'd be willing to chance a wager upon the number of your folk who will read this novel and believe the Green Clan 'good' and the Red Clan 'evil'. Yet, truly, what is evil about the desire to live? The Clans share this desire. Each Clan wishes to control the gate, and each side will do what must be done to gain that control. Ah, yes, nasty Bog and ugly Mr. Steiger will kill and destroy to ensure their survival...yet, do your people not frown upon rape through deception? How is it, then, that he who commits such an act becomes heroic? Think on it awhile, before passing judgement.
Yes, hannah's garden is far deeper than it first appears. Such is Lady Midori's charm as a writer. Never mind her skill with language, her vibrant descriptions, her authentic characters and true speech. Tis the depth of her shrewdness I find most appealing.