The Change Child
National Book Award finalist
“Outstanding Books” list, New York Times Book Review
Eilian has been troubled even before she encounters Simon Rastall at Caernarvon fair. A serving-maid’s life on a remote Welsh farm is difficult enough, but it is worse when she would rather be making poems than cheese and when people call her a changeling because of her lame foot and fair coloring, so different from her parents’. And now what does Rastall mean when he calls her his “bird bride”? The answer, when it comes, makes her wish more than ever that the Fair Folk would come and claim her as one of their own.
When, to be safe from Simon, Eilian is sent to stay with her grandmother, Mamgu, and the ragged band she rules in the Dark Wood, it is not hard to believe that Mamgu has magic powers. Willingly deceived by her own dreams, Eilian awakens to the true nature of Mamgu and her followers barely in time to escape the fate she fears most. And it is only then that she finally crosses into the kingdom of the Fair Folk and discovers at last whose child she really is.
Glowing with the color and magic of Celtic myth, yet rich in its understanding of mortal concerns, this absorbing fantasy is set in the reign of Elizabeth I.
what the reviews say...
The "Change Child" is Eilian, odd, attractive, lame, only half seriously suspected of being a changeling; but very seriously in danger of being kidnapped into marriage for the sake of her inheritance. She escapes to kinsfolk called the Red Fairies, a euphemism for a band of robbers and pilferers. Still threatened, she takes refuge more deeply still with the Fair Folk, who really are a fairy people. Jane Curry's story has a beautiful, recessive shape, and a feel for countryside and humanity. Philippa Pearce, in THE GUARDIAN