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Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones

Fire and Hemlock (original 1985; edition 2000)

by Diana Wynne Jones, David Wyatt (Illustrator)

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English (44)  Finnish (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
The best fantasy I've read in some time. I was absolutely captivated. The characters she's created, the world, the plot--it all weaves together in a truly wonderful piece of fiction. The novel tells the story of Polly, who slowly pieces together the clues of her missing memory. Her friendship with the strange Mr. Lynn feels absolutely true, from their "let's pretend" games to his comments on her writing. PERFECTION. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
At the age of seven, Polly accidentally wanders into a funeral and meets Thomas Lynn, a professional cellist who become intertwined in her life and emotions, both as the father figure that Polly, the child of a broken home, needs - and later - it seems - as the recipient of a teenage crush.

But, as a college student, Polly suddenly comes to the realization that she hasn't thought of Thomas in ages, although he was terribly important to her. And no one she talks to seems to remember him at all. Other things in her memory seem to be evidence of other discrepancies... is she going crazy? Or is something more sinister at work?

Remembering, she uncovers a bizarre network of plots and influence that all seems to center on "That House" where she saw the funeral, and the wealthy and strange family that inhabits it.

This is an ambitious and complicated book, and by far the darkest I've read by Jones, as she brings the Tam Lin legend into 1980's Britain. It's a YA book, but deals with difficult themes such as neglectful parents and relationships with both older men and pushy peers in a tasteful but emotionally unflinching way.
Although it's written in a very subtle way (nothing at all obviously supernatural or occult happens for nearly half the book), it's a tense, compelling read - hard to put down.
However, the end, where Polly finally uncovers the truth, and discovers what she must do, is very confusing - and, from reading other reviews, I'm not the only one to find it so.
We are told that Polly has figured out her course of action from reading about Tam Lin and Thomas the Rhymer, but we aren't told exactly *what* she read, so her strange, logically-backward approach is rather mysterious. The reader just kinda has to say, "Okay, I guess that made sense for some reason.... not sure why! ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
I was given this book by a friend who was told that people who like Harry Potter would also like this author. However, I am really not into fantasy because I find it too hard to keep everything straight. I did read this one all the way through, though, and I was confused through a lot of it. I'll stay away from fantasy from now on, thanks. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
I never bought into the setup: for one thing, I found the age difference distracting and kinda creepy. Jones had some nice touches of the sinister. Ironically, Jones (and others) apparently considered this book one of her best. Gave this book away, as at the time I could not stomach the thought of reading it again. Now that I've learned Jones was so proud of it, I'd almost like to read it again to figure out why. Almost. ( )
  ALisette | Jun 1, 2015 |
It seemed so unlikely that I hadn't read this book, but I couldn't remember it, and reading it now it felt like the first time. There are lots of DWJ tropes, including the fact that it is the slightly problematic story of 'Man meets small child, man needs small child to save his life, man grooms small child to love him, small child grows up, loves him, saves him, and they sail off into the sunset as a couple'. There is more self awareness that this isn't necessarily very nice than in many books, but it still is what it is. But oh, I couldn't put it down, and stayed up far too late to finish it. The relationships between Polly and her parents are particularly finely drawn, with a light touch but heartbreakingly spot on. ( )
  atreic | Oct 7, 2014 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diana Wynne Jonesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beekman, DougCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viitanen, Anna-MaijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zudeck, DarrylCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006447352X, Mass Market Paperback)

Polly has two sets of memories...

One is normal: school, home, friends. The other, stranger memories begin nine years ago, when she was ten and gate-crashed an odd funeral in the mansion near her grandmother's house. Polly's just beginning to recall the sometimes marvelous, sometimes frightening adventures she embarked on with Tom Lynn after that. And then she did something terrible, and everything changed.

But what did she do? Why can't she remember? Polly must uncover the secret, or her true love -- and perhaps Polly herself -- will be lost.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:22 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

At nineteen, Polly has two sets of sometimes overlapping, sometimes conflicting memories, the real-life ones of school days and her parents' divorce, and the heroic adventure ones that began the day she accidentally gate-crashed a funeral and met the cellist Thomas Lynn.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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