I don't usually read fantasy novels but this one really gripped me. It's an incredible achievement for a first time author, with the worlds of Summerland and Midwinter richly imagined, and builds to an impressive climax that had me sneaking upstairs - away from invited guests - to read the final chapters!
The hero/ine of the piece is like Frodo Baggins - unsure of her ability, full of anxiety, yet grows through her challenges and adventures into a brave soul yet still vulnerable, still motivated by her simple desire for family.
Part One of the book, set in a frozen London, is dark and menacing and I found this a little tough going. However, once Rowan and her brother Luke travel to Summerland and the adventure proper begins, I found myself completely absorbed in their story. Part 3 becomes much darker as a Mordor-like territory is richly imagined. The author pulls no punches in describing some of the more grisly things that take place there - vegetarians take note!!
I sincerely hope Rebekah has another book up her sleeve, it would be interesting to see what else she can conjure up in that fertile imagination of hers!
by Tim Moran
A beautifully crafted debut novel which takes classic fantasy themes and blends them with current issues. I especially loved that the central character is an ordinary little girl who has inner strength despite being scared and uncertain. Many of the strongest characters are female and this is so refreshing in the world of fantasy literature. I found that the story quickly pulled me in and was well paced leading up to an exciting final chapter. For children, this story could be quite scary, but I would say that if your child is okay with the earlier Harry Potter, novels, then they will probably be okay with this. Great read for the older child/teenager who enjoys Philip Pullman or JK Rowling.
by Sally Faulkes
Rebekah Clayton grew up in punky 1970s London. Although she was attracted to the energy and rebellion of the times, she also had a passion for nature, 19th C novels, folk rock and Pre-Raphaelite art.
Her childhood home had been built opposite a dark and spooky Victorian pile, named 'Bleak House' by the locals. Its forbidding and overbearing presence awoke her imagination, and, along with the short stories of Oscar Wilde and the novels of the Brontes, gave her a fascination for all things Gothic: ghosts, ruins, spirits, fairies, graveyards and times long past.
She immersed herself in creativity: writing, reading, painting, learning herb and folklore and music - singing in various rock bands. At college she studied Art and later, at university, English Literature.
Rebekah earnt money in various ways from au pairing to being a shorthand secretary.
Her favourite venture was owning an organic shop & cafe. Rebekah has two wonderful children and they live in the beautiful county of Derbyshire.
She recently achieved a first class honours degree in Creative Writing and won the Percy Snowden prize.