The Crowfield Curse

The Crowfield Curse

Book - 2010
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In 1347, when fourteen-year-old orphan William Paynel, an impoverished servant at Crowfield Abbey, goes into the forest to gather wood and finds a magical creature caught in a trap, he discovers he has the ability to see fays and becomes embroiled in a strange mystery involving Old Magic, a bitter feud, and ancient secrets.
Publisher: New York : Chicken House/Scholastic, 2010
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780545229227
Branch Call Number: J WAL
Paperback copies: J PBK WAL
Characteristics: 326 p


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Jul 04, 2018

This is one of my favourite books, and I recommend it frequently to visitors to the library. William is an orphan boy living with monks in an isolated monastery. Life is difficult but not entirely miserable, as William has friends among the monks.
But the forest beyond the walls of the monastery are teeming with mystery, as William begins to realize when he rescues a hob from a hunter's trap. Suddenly the world starts to impinge on William's quiet life: strange visitors from the town, frightening noises from the forest, and a secret held by the monks that is slowly uncovered. Why is the monastery considered "cursed" by so many? With the help of his new friend, the hob, William begins to investigate. There's something buried out there under the snow of the forest, something that could shake the very foundations of the church.
Though there's nothing overtly horrible in the story, Pat Walsh manages to sustain a high level of tension and suspense, one that's offset by the occasional moment of domestic warm. She captures the daily life of medieval monks accurately, and the atmosphere of the book is fantastic: a dark and snowy winter, where creatures from folklore and religion mingle in the shadows of the forest. It's fascinating, thought-provoking stuff.

forbesrachel Jan 01, 2014

Crowfield Curse is defined by its folktale setting. Hobs, magic, and discovering the mysteries of this world fill up most of its pages. While it is fairly generic in its fantasy quality there is still something charming about the life of this boy, William, who is just finding out there is more to his world than he previously thought.

William himself is kind, brave, and smart, essentially he can do no wrong. This unfortunately makes him a rather bland character, even with the authors attempt to give him a sad, and sympathetic backstory. These beginnings feel they bare no influence on his motives. This disconnection is one of a few, for several characters motives are either lacking or unexplained.

The "enemy" flips between one person to the next as William learns more, and it is only by the end that the true enemy makes its appearance. For the most part the threat is kept to the shadows, using the atmosphere, the sense of watching eyes, and Williams cautious nature to exemplify this.

While the book has some dark deeds, none are explained in great detail, and its evil never feels horrifying, making this an acceptable novel for children, and with few like it out there, many will find it refreshing to the regular heroic tales.

tracythelibrarian Oct 19, 2011

Although the main setting for this book is a Medieval monastery, there is lots of action and an original plot with lots of interesting twists. A great choice for thoughtful kids or a read a loud for a Grades 4-6 class, however there is a couple of sad scenes in which animals are killed by an evil fay king.

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Jul 24, 2015

goosebumps_0 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Feb 07, 2014

rem85 thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over


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