Winter Rose #2. Author: Patricia McKillip.
When bookstore owner Sylvia Lynn returns to her childhood home in upstate New York, she meets the Fiber Guild-a group of local women who meet to knit, embroider, and sew-and learns why her grandmother watches her so closely. A primitive power exists in the forest, a force the Fiber Guild seeks to bind in its stitches and weavings. And Sylvia is no stranger to the woods.
Solstice Wood didn’t seem as engrossing and well-plotted as the other McKillip books I’ve been reading, but it was still a good read. The fae are portrayed near-perfectly through most of the book, drawing on the old folk-tales and fairy-tales without sounding too cliche. (To be fair, perhaps you could call them cliche, since they’re so similar to various folk-tales. I call them well-written.) Most of the characters aren’t very rounded out, though; while the clannish, slightly queer atmosphere of the village is strong, the individual people that make it up aren’t developed. Even the main character has something of a back story but doesn’t feel as individual and real as sometimes. I wanted to know why she avoids the woods despite her nature, why she’s afraid of commitment and failure, why she fled her home.
And the ending didn’t feel properly set up or properly wrapped up. Multiple characters deep-set in their ways completely changed their minds without (to me) sufficient time and convincing, and yet there still wasn’t much of a conclusion – just ‘maybe, maybe not’.
(Note: I wasn’t aware that this was a sequel, but I don’t think that made a difference.)
Sexual Content: “I’m not picking that [phone] up.” “Why? Are you having a clandestine affair?” / “…come back to bed.” “I can’t,” I said firmly, although his naked body was exerting some serious magnetic pull. (Man/woman in apartment, not married.) / “My mother hadn’t bothered to marry; my father was anybody’s guess.”/ One scene with a man and fae woman who engage in sexual intercourse; while the act itself is not explicit, it’s fairly obvious, and they’re described ‘skin-to-skin’ when she pulls off his clothes and as making various sounds of pleasure.
Language: 1 scatological term.
Violence: Two children are kidnapped (one led astray, the other dragged into/through a pool).