Technically it was my turn on the Blogtour on the 16th, but moving house and reading and preparing the completely wrong book and post got in the way of that, so here we are today instead.About the Author
John Tarrow is a novelist, poet, storyteller and award-winning writer. His fascination with folk and faerie tales has taken him around the world, gathering threads of story and legend to weave into his own mythologies: hiss extensive studies in Lakota Sioux and Druidic traditions offer readers stories resonant with magic, folklore and the wonder of the natural world. he pent twenty-five years transforming a three-bedroom, semi-detached, ex council house in Essex into the world famous Talliston House and Gardens.
Abandoned and alone, thirteen-year-old Joe’s world is shattered when he enters a deserted council house and becomes trapped within a labyrinth protecting the last magical places on earth. There, Joe discovers a book charting this immense no-man’s land, without time or place.
Its thirteen doors each leading to a different realm. Hunted by sinister foes the boy is forced ever deeper into both the maze and the mystery of his missing parents. What will he find at the labyrinth’s centre, and can it reunite him with the family he so desperately needs?
Crossing through diverse landscapes from Victorian Britain to fifties New Orleans The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston is inspired by the internationally famous nd gardens dubbed ‘Britains’s Most Extraordinary Home’ by the Sunday Times. It is a classic YA tale of adventure that introduced readers to an otherworld hiding in plain sight, cloaked in magic and steeped in imagined history. Yet beyond its fearsome huntsmen and battling magicians dwells the secret that lies within all of us -the power to live extraordinary lives. Review
This is a YA read, but I would also recommend it for older children who are advanced readers. It’s Pullman with shades of Pratchett, and if your child reads either of those authors then they will enjoy this.
I love the fact this is based on a real house and gardens. What if Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree came to life and became an actual place to visit, that’s what this book is like. The Talliston House and Gardens are magical and full of imagination, it’s only right that an author should try to capture some of that magic.
Joe’s life is full of rules, fear and anxiety, even more so since his parents just abandoned him one day. Now he lives by himself avoiding human contact and trying to follow the rules he has been taught. At some point he has no choice but to wander out into the world to stay alive. On his travels he comes across an aggressive teenager, who in turn introduces him to Talliston.
A world of doors, places, secrets and magic. Whole worlds within a single house, but what a house it is. Full of darkness and moments of light. Joe learns to trust in himself and focus on his abilities and strengths.
It’s an intricate, fascinating and ambitious YA fantasy. I can understand wanting everything in one story or book, however the sheer magnitude of ideas and worlds probably needed more depth and page space. A series of books perhaps or this one and then a series of books with a focus on a different area each time.
Please note that the hardcopy is an especially beautiful book and as if that wasn’t enough at the very back of the book there is a special gift for the reader. The kind of gift that would make you sever a page at the back (it’s says you have to), although that is absolute sacrilege to a bookworm.
Buy The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for an other retailer. Publisher: Unbound; pub date 11 July 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Unbound.