by Chris Trotter
Published: January 31st 2017 by Austin Macauley Publishers
Genre: New Adult Fantasy
Source: review copy
In a Buzz: Clearly, a first novel with an intended message but the fairy tale part is captivating.
It’s just another summer holiday at the caravan park, and thirteen-year-old Jamie is feeling unloved, unwanted and thoroughly confused.
With a recovering alcoholic mother, unresponsive sister Lauren, and aggressive father, he has little to celebrate.
But at the park’s funfair, a hidden secret comes to light which will change his and Lauren’s lives forever.
Reeling from this disclosure, Jamie stumbles into a never-explored area of the park. Here he meets a gypsy whose gift in storytelling might give him the insight to support his sister when she most needs it and help the teenager make sense of his life.
Or is that lives?
In this innovative first novel by Chris Trotter, The Storyteller explores the poignancy of friendship and love, and how in the cycle of life, there may be more than one chance to make things right.
Using a unique blend of traditional fiction and fantasy, Chris Trotter interweaves two tales to an uplifting conclusion.
About the author:
Austin Macauley Publishers who published “The Storyteller” write about the author:”
Chris Trotter was born in 1981 and was brought up in Edinburgh, where he now works as a tour guide. He studied acting and tourism and is a keen photographer. Writing has been a hobby of his since he was a child, and The Storyteller is his first published book.”
I have not found any further information about him.
This is a story in several layers which I always enjoy. It starts with a holiday of a dysfunctional family in Northern England or Scotland. The mother has alcohol problems, the father can’t forget she had an affair and Jamie and Lauren the children suffering their parent’s problems in silence.
When Jamie finds out a secret about his conception he meets Moses who is a storyteller. He takes Jamie to one of his stories. But there is also a previous life of Jamie and Lauren mentioned. Those different levels give the story an atmosphere of mystery that is quite appealing.
I loved the characters in Moses’ story. They are clearly on a journey of discovery of themselves but also of their worlds secrets. They feel their jealousy, their love and their desperation deeply but also find help in different non-human creatures. And the end of their quest certainly is surprising.
Their world is a fantasy or fairy tale world with a safe place that is the kingdom they grew up in. It is described as beautiful with gardens, rivers, lakes and mountains and you just want to go there and have some downtime. The outside world is feared. However, it is not as different as their own as they discover. The only difference is that the people “outside” do not live in harmony with each other compared to the kingdom. It feels fitting for a story.
The “real world” of Lauren and Jamie is not described in that much detail but you clearly get the gist of a Scottish or northern English campsite.
I thought the story that Moses tells is more worked out and more “real” than Jamies and Lauren’s world and story. There is a lot of telling not showing going on which often got me out of my reading flow. However, this is a first novel and I could see that it improved throughout the book.
I could not really get close to the characters of Jamie and Lauren and their parents. I am not quite sure why. You learn enough of their backstory and how they deal with things seems real enough, however, their conversations don’t feel quite natural. It might be though that the topic of domestic violence just was too close to my own past and that I did not want to fully dive into it.
And I suspect this story was written with an intend: to show that past lives are real and you choose what you want to experience in this life. If that is what you believe in this book is a great reading experience. If you don’t the whole story is just that little bit strained.
The Honey of it all
Don’t read it if you do not care for new age thinking and past lives. If you do though go for it and enjoy the fairy tale bit.
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