‘Bell at Sealey Head’ a magical tale

  I’ve never read a book by Patricia A. McKillip before, and after reading “The Bell at Sealey Head” I am shocked that I had never heard of her.
  I love the fantasy genre, and if “Bell” is an example, McKillip is right up my alley. Some of her other titles include “Solstice Wood,” “Harrowing the Dragon,” “Song for the Basilisk” and “The Sorceress and the Cygnet.” The titles alone make me want to read these books, but if they were not enough, the cover art would make me pick them up.
  “The Bell at Sealey Head” is a little reminiscent of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” The mysterious Aislinn House is on the outskirts of the small town that sits at the edge of the ocean. Everyone knows everyone in the tiny place.
  Judd Cauley and his father, Dugold, own the Inn at Sealey Head, which doesn’t get much traffic. Gwyneth Blair is from a wealthy merchant family and loves books and writing. Gwyneth most often can be found in the company of the Sproule siblings, Raven and Daria, the son and daughter of a well-to-do farming family. Lady Eglantyne, who is dying, lives in Aislinn House, along with her staff, which includes the young housemaid Emma.
  What all of these and other characters have in common is the bell, which everyone hears at sunset but none has seen. And then there’s the magic of Aislinn House, whose doors sometimes open to another world, one filled with princesses, knights and rituals. All of those who live in this other world must follow the rituals and never question why. This is a problem for princess Ysabo, who is befriended by Emma after the housemaid opens a door and stumbles upon the hidden kingdom.
  After a knight proposes to Ysabo, and her mother says it’s part of the ritual for her to marry him, the princess begins to question her world. Her grandmother tells her the ritual must be followed.
  “Think of the ritual as something powerful enough to call up the sun, to set the waves in motion, bring down the moon. If the sun will not rise out of the sea; the sea itself will stop, lie silent and idle as a puddle in the perpetual black. Imagine that your blood will stop flowing, lie as stagnant in your veins.”
  Soon, strangers come to town, many asking questions about the bell and Aislinn House, and the residents of Sealey Head begin to see that all is not as it appears in their small village.
  McKillip creates a wonderful world in this book. It’s magical yet realistic, as if a door in any house could take readers into another realm created from the very best of their imaginations.
  I’ll definitely be picking up another one of McKillip’s books.

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