cover image Tales from the Hinterland (The Hazel Wood)

Tales from the Hinterland (The Hazel Wood)

Melissa Albert, illus. by Jim Tierney. Flatiron, $19.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-25030-272-4

Albert brings The Hazel Wood’s fictional fairy tale volume to life in 12 finely wrought but gruesome stories of captive wives, abused women, and their bloody revenge. Framed by Tierney’s intricately inked woodcut-style illustrations, the fictional Hinterlands and their fairy tale logic shine when illuminating aspects of troubled family dynamics: “Hansa the Traveler” sets its cloistered protagonist questing to save her star mother and confronts the cost of being a rescuer, while “The House Under the Stairwell” offers a somber, heartfelt reflection on the work of repair. Weaker entries, however, collapse into repetitive revenges or horror genre despair, and Albert’s allegories lose power as the dynamics and relationships they stand for fail to grow, broaden, or change. Fans of Emily Carroll, Catherynne M. Valente, and Albert’s own work will thrill to this volume’s fairy tale cadences and inventive, deep-shadowed imagery, but the parade of voiceless, mutilated, broken women may leave readers wanting range and depth. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Faye Bender, the Book Group. (Jan.) [/em]