Review Blog

Jul 25 2016

The Tale of Gwyn by Cynthia Voigt

cover image

Tales of the Kingdom bk 1. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015. ISBN 9781481421805
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Fantasy. This reprint of Jackaroo with a new title and cover is a boon for readers who enjoy fantasy, especially one with a heroine in the vein of Robin Hood. Written in beautiful language by award winning author, Voigt, the tale of a kingdom ravaged by poverty is spell binding. There is little hope for the common people who are starving and burdened by taxes and wars until a masked outlaw called Jackaroo comes at night to leave money and assistance for the helpless. Gwyn the daughter of the innkeeper doesn't believe in fairy tales, but when she finds a mask, cloak and sword in an abandoned cottage, she finds herself searching for answers.
Gwyn is a fabulous character. She is practical and loyal, brave and daring. Although the bones of the story lie in the tale of a masked person giving to the poor, under Voigt's magical writing, the story becomes much more than that. It is a vivid depiction of a medieval type of society, with kings, earls, manors and common people, and a beautiful rendition of a young woman's coming of age. The secondary characters are fully realised and Burl the young servant at the inn is a wonderful person, stalwart, calm and helpful.
Originally I read this as Jackaroo when it was first published. I loved it then and it has stood up very well to the test of time. An outstanding book by an outstanding author.
Pat Pledger

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