Absolutely delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for the fabulous Enchanted. Not Only do I have my thoughts on the book but I have a fabulous post from the authors to share with you so make sure to keep scrolling down.
Ella Hannaford has a small business to run, an overworked father to look after and a future stepmother who wants a perfect wedding.
Can she avoid a girly night out with her clueless stepsister? Can she side-step lovesick suitors at every turn? Not if it’s up to that team of foul-mouthed dwarfs who want to forcibly drag her into her happily ever after.
Gingerbread cottages, dodgy European gangsters, gun-toting grannies, wisecracking wolves, stubborn fairy godmothers, ogres, beanstalks and flying carpets abound in a tale about what happens when you refuse to accept your Happy Ending.
Ever wanted to relieve reading all the classic fairy tales you used to read as a child? Well now you can but with a twist.
Disenchanted is a combination of all the best loved fairytales but strictly for adults.
The story starts off with Ella as a child who has her first experience of fairies. Then it fast forwards to Ella as an adult who, having forgotten all about fairies, is dragged into a world filled with characters from the books we read as a child.
We are then taken on a fun filled and enchanting journey of a read.
My favourite characters had to be Rose, Ella’s gran and the wolf. Both brought so much to the story. Rose is a feisty old bird. She is one of those straight speaking no nonsense type of people and one that just grabbed me from the start. She was larger than live in my head and I think she is going to be a massive hit with readers. The wolf I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to like him due to him being a bit of a baddie. He is still very much naughty but one that by the end, had totally captured my heart.
Disenchanted is a hugely appealing and enjoyable read. Even if it isn’t a genre you would normally read, I have a feeling that a variety of readers will fall in love with it. There really is something for everyone. What I love about these authors is that you never know quite what you are going into when you start one their novels. All I know is that they write the most unique and entertaining books that I have ever read!
My thanks to the authors for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.
Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.
Heide and Iain’s latest novel, Disenchanted, is out this month. The fairy tale fantasy comedy was written with no small assistance from Dr Epiphany Alexander of Sheffield University’s Department for Folklore and Oral History. As an insight into the research material used to create Disenchanted, we present one of Dr Alexander’s letters to the author duo.
My Dear Friends,
Thank you for the invitation to your book launch event in Birmingham a week on Saturday. I hope to be able to attend, although I am currently away on university business in Leeds which is all very exciting. My father told me never to trust a Yorkshireman whose eyebrows meet in the middle and I have been very watchful throughout my journey. I came here to meet with Professor Scarrow of Leeds University to discuss some papers that have recently come to light. I have seen his photograph previously and know I have little to fear regarding his eyebrows.
I travelled up this morning on the train with Pak Choi who has been a loyal retainer to our family for more decades than I care to guess and has promised to defend me from the monobrows. I discovered en route that he is the first of the fair folk to travel on board a train and he was quite excited by the experience, to the extent that we were removed from the Quiet Zone and told to stand outside the train toilets until Pak Choi had calmed down.
We arrived this morning to find the sun shining over the city, which came as a surprise as I was given to understand that Leeds was famed for being constantly overcast and grey, hence the phrase ‘stick it where the sun don’t shine’ (though why exactly numerous people feel I should take my complaints and honest enquiries and send them to Leeds is a socio-linguistic mystery). Our bus stop for the university was on Boar Lane and as we waited I was put in mind of the local fairy tale of The Owl Boy.
The town of Leeds – ‘the town of the fast-flowing river’ as I’m sure you know – was, according to Bede’s tale, being terrorised by a giant boar with tusks like spears and bristles like iron needles. The brave men of Yorkshire (who will tell you they are the bravest men in the world, repeatedly and often and twice as often after a few beers) attacked the boar and were either repelled or killed. It seemed that no mortal weapon could kill the boar and the town would have to live under its tyranny, but then a simple lad came down from the hills with a sheepskin to sell. Upon hearing about the terrible boar, he told the townsfolk he would rid them of the menace. Of course, they laughed at him and refused to listen. But that night he sought out the boar on the common by the river. Presently, the boar appeared and made to attack the boy. The boy let out a curious whistle and, down from the darkness, came three owls which distracted and tormented the boar. The boy whistled again and the owls plucked a star apiece from the sky which dazzled and enraged the boar further. The boy whistled a third time and the owls flew over the river with their dazzling stars. The boar, near-blinded and filled with fury, charged at them, fell into the River Aire and drowned. The townsfolk gave thanks, made the boy an alderman of the town and, to this day, the coat of arms of the city contains three owls, three stars and the sheepskin that the simple boy had brought down from the hills.
A fascinating tale, yes? Perhaps worthy of inclusion in the second volume of your book. (You describe it as a fairy tale comedy. I envisage something akin to The Golden Bough but with more knock knock jokes. Is that about the measure of it?)
The young people of Leeds might learn a thing or two about manners and civic duty from the Owl Boy. On the bus to the university, several teenagers teased Pak Choi quite savagely about his cobweb waistcoat and thistledown pantaloons and a most unpleasant girl called him a ‘great big puff’. In retaliation, Pak Choi stole the colour from the girl’s eyes and told her she could only have it back if she spoke nothing but truths for a year.
We alighted at the university campus not in the best of moods and crossed St George’s Fields to seek out Professor Scarrow’s office. St George’s Fields is the burial place of, amongst others, Pablo Fanque, the famed equestrian and later circus owner. I am given to understand that The Beatles make reference to him in one of their songs but I’m not up to date with popular music so couldn’t be certain. What I do know is that the circus had, back in the day when such things were regarded as acceptable, a freak performer known as the Parrot Man. A local tale that has since built up recounts that the Parrot Man fled the circus and took up residence in Meanwood woods. The tale is classified as type 333 under the Aarne-Thompson-Uther system, a variant on the Red Riding Hood story (but with an eye-pecking Parrot Man in place of the wolf!).
Professor Scarrow took us to lunch at a charming little pub not far from the university. He insisted that we have a bottle of red with our meal even though I rarely drink and I suspect Professor Scarrow had already imbibed a glass or two before lunch. Professor Scarrow spilled gravy on his tie, shouted loudly at the barman and totally ignored Pak Choi. It transpired that Professor Scarrow has recently had what can only be termed ‘a messy divorce’ and has not coped well. Over a tear-spattered crème brûlée dessert, Professor Scarrow recounted the many wrongs he has suffered leading up to his wife running off with a sixth form college lecturer from Tadcaster. By this time, Professor Scarrow was clutching my hand across the dining table and I had to somewhat sternly remind him that I had come to see him on business and perhaps we ought to be about it.
The weary and somewhat remorseful Professor Scarrow took me to the university library and, as he drunkenly searched among dusty records in the library basement, asked me what I knew of the story of The Prophet Hen of Leeds. I told him what I knew.
The Prophet Hen of Leeds is a curious tale in that it blends together obvious fairy tale elements with historical fact. Once upon a time – in the late 18th Century – there was a witch who made two bold claims: that she could protect the people of Leeds from curses and that her hen could predict the future (her hen was shown on several occasions to produce eggs marked with the words “Christ is coming.”) However, neither claim proved to be true. In the matter of curses, the witch was discovered to have been systematically poisoning local folk and simply stopped poisoning those who bought her magic charms. As to the prophetic hen, the witch was uncovered by a keen-eyed local who saw her writing on an eggshell with acid and then carefully reinserting the egg back up the hen’s fundament.
The poisoning of a young housewife proved to be the witch’s undoing. A magistrate’s investigations into the death led him slowly but certainly to the witch’s door. It is said that in the days before her arrest, the witch’s prophet hen began laying eggs marked with the words “Death is coming” and that none could explain how this was accomplished.
I asked Professor Scarrow if it was true that the witch’s skeleton was still held by the University of Leeds. He told me that it was, although it’s not on public display for reasons of taste. I had also heard that, after her death, the witch’s skin was removed, tanned into leather and sold off to raise money for the local children’s infirmary. And this, it turned out, was the reason for his invite to me. From an archive box, Professor Scarrow produce a sheet of vellum parchment. But, dearest friends, you will probably no doubt realise that it was not vellum but human hide! And on it… well, I could scarcely believe my eyes and requested a closer look.
As he passed the peculiar document to me, Professor Scarrow’s hand brushed mine and, perhaps still somewhat intoxicated, he tried to kiss me. Oh, to see a respected academic behave in such a deplorable way! It was shameful! Fortunately, Pak Choi was present and concussed the outrageous professor with a bound doctoral thesis. (Incidentally, that is one of the hallmarks of a good thesis; if it’s not heavy enough to knock out a professor then it probably lacks rigour).
This evening I have retired to a charming city centre hotel to recoup myself spiritually and read the witch-hide manuscript. I ordered a club sandwich from room service. However, the young somewhat fox-faced man who brought it to the room had eyebrows that met in the middle so I have not yet decided if I will eat it or not.
I will write again,
Dr E. Alexander
Dr Epiphany Alexander’s latest book, “It Bears Repeating: The Enduring Appeal of Goldilocks” is currently available from Sheffield Academic Press.
Heide Goody and Iain Grant’s novel, Disenchanted, is available now from Amazon.