When American freelance editor Jennifer Hudock sent me her indie book “The Goblin Market” for review, I have to admit I was pretty sceptic about it. I mean, Jennifer told me she was inspired by Cristina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s brilliant sister, author of a very famous English poem with the same title. “This woman cannot be serious”, I told myself. “I mean, Rossetti? An American writer who deals with Cristina Rossetti? Paws off British Literature, you bloody foreigner!”.
Then, when she wrote on her blog that the film “Labyrinth” was another source of inspiration for the book, I simply laughed out loud. You see, I’m the hugest Labyrinth’s fan in the whole world, I saw the film more than a hundred times (literally) and I get very, very suspicious when anyone starts going around saying that he or she has been inspired by Labyrinth since, let’s face it, no one is good enough to even mention that amazing film.
Well, I was wrong. Terribly wrong. “The Goblin Market”, in fact, has been a wonderful surprise, the light at the end of a dark tunnel made of dull books I’ve been reading recently.
It’s a captivating adventure, full of original twists, with very believable characters.
Set in Elizabethan England, “The Goblin Market” is the story of two sisters, Christina and Meredith. They’re two poor orphans who live in a peaceful, obscure little village far from the sins of London.
Christina is going to marry a good man who wildly loves her and she’s very happy but, at the same time, she’s also worried for her older sister. Meredith brought her up, sacrificing everything for her, and Chris doesn’t want her to end up alone once she’s gone, becoming an old maid, “surrounded by a horde of cats”.
On the other hand, Merry just wants the best for her little sister, wishes her happiness and love and doesn’t care to be left alone. Unfortunately, the arrival of Kothar, the dark and handsome goblin king, drastically changes the priorities of the two sisters and it’s no more a matter of who is marrying whom, but pretty much a matter of … life and death. Chris gets accidentally poisoned by the fruits sold at the Goblin Market, a magic place created by Kothar to help him finding his long-lost princess, the great love of his sad and solitary life.
Convinced that Meredith is that very princess, he tries to exchange the antidote to the poison with the promise to marry him, but our spinster-to-be bravely refuses, choosing the other option she has, the most perilous one: crossing the terrible Darknjan Wald to meet the king in front of the gate of his own castle; the task is so impossible that the Kothar promises that, if she manages to do so, she’ll have her sister back and they’ll both be free. Not so bad for a solitary girl, apparently destined to be a looser, don’t you think? I don’t want to spoil anything for those lucky readers who haven’t finishes the book yet, I just want to tell you that Meredith’s adventure will bring her in a magical yet very believable world, full of fascinating, yet very dangerous creatures.
This book is a real page-turner (we’re talking, of course, of virtual pages, it being an E-book), something I would recommend to all those fiction-fans who love fantasy with a bit of humour in it.
You can read Jennifer’s blog (http://jennybeans.net/) to get updates about the book sales and to know more about her struggle to give it the exposure it deserves, at least online.
I have already told the author and I want to write it here, so that everyone can read it: it’s really a pity that this book hasn’t been published by a big publisher since I’m truly convinced that, with the aid of a good marketing plan and a talented illustrator (Brian Froud, just to name one) it could have truly been a real best seller. I strongly advice everyone to buy it, it’s sold on Amazon at a ridiculous price and, trust me, it’s worth every penny.
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