Abandoned and alone, thirteen-year-old Joe’s world is shattered when he enters a deserted council house and becomes trapped within a labyrinth protecting the last magical places on earth. There, Joe discovers a book charting this immense no-man’sland, without time or place, its thirteen doors each leading to a different realm.
Hunted by sinister foes, the boy is forced ever deeper into both the maze and the mystery of his missing parents. What will he find at the labyrinth’s centre, and can it reunite him with the family he so desperately needs?
Crossing through diverse landscapes from Victorian Britain to fifties New Orleans, The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston is inspired by the internationally famous house and gardens dubbed ‘Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home’ by the Sunday Times. It is a classic YA tale of adventure that introduces readers to another world hiding in plain sight, cloaked in magic and steeped in imagined history. Yet beyond its fearsome huntsmen and battling magicians dwells the secret that lies within all of us – the power to live extraordinary lives.
John Tarrow is a novelist, poet, storyteller and award-winning writer. His fascination with folk and faerie tales has taken him around the world, gathering threads of story and legend to weave into his own mythologies: his extensive studies in Lakota Sioux and Druidic traditions offer readers stories resonant with magic, folklore and the wonders of the natural world. He spent twenty-five years transforming a three-bedroom, semi-detached, ex council house in Essex into the world-famous Talliston House and Gardens.
Ok, so this book is inspired by a real place, that you can actually visit, in Great Dunmow, Essex. So I’ve added that to my list of places to go to asap.
A really accessible, clever, funny fantasy novel, full of little references to other fantasy books (and at one point Disney’s Pocahontas – at least to me!)
Joe is the relatable, every kid hero, who encounters magical birds, strange and powerful mystics, travelling through time and space via a mysterious house and its labyrinth.
I really enjoyed reading this, it’s a romp and so well written that it pulls you into the story swiftly, with its use of different myths and legends, locations, time periods and cast of unique characters.
*I was kindly gifted this book in return for taking part in the blog tour.