A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories by Robin McKinley

A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories by Robin McKinley 4 outof 5 stars
I just finished reading this collection of short stories by Robin McKinley. Within are included five tales. The first tale: Healer tells the story of Lily, a child born with the magic to heal, but without the gift of speech. Lily, kind and loving, is apprenticed to Jolin to learn the ways of healers. Jolin and Lily become like family to one another, but Lily still feels the loneliness of never finding a love. Then one day a mage named Sahak who has lost his powers comes across Lily and they are able to communicate with each other through mind-speech. Their interactions will teach them about love, courage, and honor. I enjoyed this tale immensely; I’m a sucker for fairy tales and happy endings- and this one filled that perfectly. I give this tale 5 out of 5 stars.

The next tale: The Stagman tells the story of Ruen, an orphan princess mistreated by her uncle. I liked this tale, but the ending drove me to distraction. I couldn’t understand (spoilers coming!) why Ruen disappeared- was it because she was unhappy? Did she go back to stay with Luthe and the Stagman? Ambiguous endings like this drive me nuts! I have to give this tale 3 out of 5 stars.

The third tale: Touk’s House was a very nice twist on Rapunzel. I enjoyed this tale, although, I couldn’t help but feel that Erana ended up making the decision she made because of her bad experience with the prince. I give this tale 3.5 out 5 stars.

The fourth tale: Buttercups, I truly liked. Pos, an old widowed farmer, meets and falls in love with Coral. The two marry and live happily until Pos overhears one of his workers commenting that he thinks Coral just married him for his wealth. This starts a grain of doubt in Pos who begins to wonder if Coral truly loves him. His doubt causes him to do something that seemingly brings tragedy to their farm, but eventually ends in an ending that reaffirms the love they have for one another. I liked this tale a lot and I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

The fifth and last tale: A Knot in the Grain, is a modern tale. Annabelle and her family move to a small town. Her forays into the attic reveal a box which magically fulfills her wishes. This tale is a warm story of the possibilities of good coming from sad or difficult situations. I give this tale 4 out of 5 stars.

Overall, the collection is a wonderful read- I would recommend it to readers of all ages. I give the whole collection 4 out of 5 stars.

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