Troubador If Dreams Should Die

Released: 28/03/2022

ISBN: 9781803131160

eISBN: 9781803138381

Format: Paperback/eBook

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If Dreams Should Die


Everyone dreams. Bird dreams she’s a musician. She plays to the trees in her dreamworld, Fae. At 15, she’s become a brilliant violinist with a promising career ahead. When she practises in front of the mirror in her bedroom, the trees appear, dancing behind her. It seems unnervingly real. One night she dreams of a red-headed boy with golden eyes, waiting in the forest, drawn by her music.

Next day, exploring a quarry in the remote Lake District valley where she lives, the skin of Bird’s world peels open when the red-headed boy walks into the quarry. As she stares, his golden eyes turn hazel, he seems unable to recognise her, and she loses sight of him until he arrives at the cottage next door, with his mother. They’ve just moved in. He’s Tom, he’s 17, and for Bird it’s love at first sight. Although he won’t hold her hand, Tom plainly feels the same. He’s as human as she is. Then his mother deliberately touches Bird’s hand, leaving an agonising, invisible burn.

Bird’s adversary is the Queen of Fae. She claims Tom is her son, she will defeat Bird and take him back. Bird’s musical powers will not save him, unless she finds another human child to take his place. There’s always the new baby in Bird’s family. He’s just been adopted by Bird’s aunt – another dream come true …

Reviews of "Morph" include:
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't be able to put it down...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 September 2018
This book amazed me in two ways - firstly, the Lake District so well described that it made me want to go out there and up the fells (and I'm really not an avid hiker...). Secondly, the characters in Morph were well written and the complex issue of growing up and getting to know the person that you are was so engagingly written, that I kept re-discovering both myself and also different people I have met growing up and at university. Morph is a powerful reminder that we are all struggling with one issue or another - and that we never really know what is going on inside another person until they share their thoughts with us. I started reading the book early in the morning and was finished about 12 hours later: I could not put it down and neither will you. An amazing work of literature!

Reviews of "Anna and the Snake Queen" include:
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding the magic
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 December 2020
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I thought stories about unhappy children mysteriously transported to, let alone saving, a magical world were a thing of the past: yet that’s precisely what happens to Anna and her little brother, Mikey in Jill Clough’s excellent "Anna and the Snake Queen". But don’t go looking for similarities to the Narnia genre: Jill Clough’s central characters are confronting a very twenty-first century problem, that of domestic abuse, particularly as it is experienced and described by children.

The children, with their mother, are obliged to find magic in a safe house where they are seeking refuge from their violent, manipulative father, and at first find joy and excitement in the enchanted island of Pelm. But, in a twist that bears comparison to the author’s assured debut novel "Morph", they find that the magic required to save both the family and the threatened island has to be found not in talking animals, nor even in a sentient form of nature (beautifully created in the rich writing), but much closer to home.

"Anna and the Snake Queen" tackles harsh realities while avoiding both preaching and sentimentality. Yet, notwithstanding its unflinching depiction of hidden abuse, it gathers admirable pace and succeeds in expressing hope and trust in the goodness of ordinary people.

First review of "If Dreams Die":
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful mixture of fantasy and reality
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 March 2022
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This was a great book, with wonderful world-building. I particularly loved the descriptions of the Longsleddale valley, the sights, smells and sounds of the Cumbrian Fells. As she's shown in her previous books, this author has an amazing ability to create a sense of place.

There were so many things to like - Bird's love of music and the way music weaves through the story, the thin veil between our world and the world of Fae, the tension between Bird and Tom's mother. I liked the way Bird matured in the telling of the story, her struggles with right and wrong. I liked her relationship with her brother, her parents, her aunt and uncle.

This is a story I could read again and again.

This is a masterful and fascinating tale, crossing the boundaries of this world and the world of Fae with consummate ease.

I was completely enthralled by the growing sense of threat as Bird, a young musician of remarkable talent, takes on the Queen of Fae. Using her music to protect herself and save Tom, a changeling boy raised in Fae, Bird holds out against the Queen’s vicious and increasingly powerful attacks.

There are so many characters I love here – Tom, with his close affinity with animals and nature - Patrick, Bird’s mischievous brother, bringing laughter and light when Bird feels at her most confused and threatened - the mysterious Hilda, Bird’s music teacher, who seems to have powers of her own

This is storytelling at its best, themes of first love, adoption, the finding of self, seamlessly woven in to give Bird’s story depth and character. The final compromise reached after such bitter and heartfelt conflict is perhaps a lesson to us all.

by Anne Banks

Jill Clough

I spent years as a teacher and headteacher in secondary schools, but began writing novels in my early twenties. After publishing academic articles, books and reviews, I finally returned to my first love, writing fiction. My first published novel, "Morph", won the Lakeland Book of the Year Award for Fiction in 2019. It's classified as Young Adult but widely read by adults and book clubs.

My second, "Anna and the Snake Queen", aimed at Middle Grade readers, came out during lockdown in 2020.

My new novel, "If Dreams Should Die" has just come out, official launch yet to be announced.

In a field beside my home

A view into Longsleddale
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