Excerpt from The Magician's Daughter by H.G. Parry, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Magician's Daughter

by H.G. Parry

The Magician's Daughter by H.G. Parry X
The Magician's Daughter by H.G. Parry
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    Feb 2023, 400 pages


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Jo-Anne Blanco
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He laughed. "What, you mean are we the only people left in the world?"

"How should I know?" she pointed out, defensive. "I've never seen anyone else."

"There are millions of people out there. Of all shapes and sizes, colors and creeds, many of them very much like the people in books. Trust me. Where do you think the jam comes from?"

"I don't know where the jam comes from!" This wasn't strictly true—she knew both exactly how jam was made, thanks to the library, and how Rowan obtained it, thanks to Hutchincroft. But qualifying that would weaken her position, so she rushed on. "I've never seen that either. I've never seen anywhere except the island."

"Well, none of the rest of the world have ever seen the island. So you're not too badly off, considering."

"That isn't the point! I know why the rest of the world can't see us. I don't understand why I can't see the rest of the world."

"Biddy," he said, and the familiar note was in his voice, quiet but firm, that had stopped her in her tracks since she was old enough to recognize her name. "That's enough, all right?"

Against her own will, she fell silent, burning with resentment. It was directed at herself as much as anyone. Rowan rarely tried to guide any aspect of her behavior, and yet when he did she never dared to push back. No, dared was the wrong word—that sounded as though she was afraid of him, and Rowan had never done anything to make her so. The barrier came from inside her own head, from her own reluctance to lose Rowan's approval when he and Hutch were the only people in her world. She hated it. The heroines in her books would never care what anybody thought. And she hated most of all the reminder that her world was so small.

Rowan must have seen it, because the lines of his face softened. "Look, Bid—"

"Never mind." She laid down her butter knife and pushed her toast aside, trying for a dignified exit. It felt stiff and childish, only signifying that she had lost both the argument and, for some reason, her breakfast. "It was just a question, that's all. I need to see to the goats."

"All right." Rowan didn't sound happy, but he clearly had no intention of prolonging a discussion he himself had stopped. "I'll be in the study if you need me. We'll probably see you this afternoon?"

Biddy glanced at Hutch, who was watching her anxiously from the fireplace, and managed a wan smile for him. Then she went out the kitchen door, into the windswept courtyard where the chickens pecked. She wished, not for the first time lately, the hinges in the castle doors worked well enough to allow a remotely satisfying slam.

There were three rules to living on the Isle of Hy-Brasil, or so Rowan always said.

The first was to never set foot under the trees after dark. That one wasn't much of a rule—Rowan broke it all the time. It was difficult not to in the short daylight hours of winter. The forest covered most of the island, tangled and grey green and wild, and they often needed to forage well into it to collect plants for food and spells. But certainly there was an edge of danger under the branches once the sun went down. The shadows had been known to misbehave; high lilting sounds like laughter or half-heard music drifted through the leaves when the wind was still. There were things in the depths of Hy-Brasil that none of them would ever know, not even Hutchincroft.

The second rule was to watch out for the Púca, and never accept a ride from it. Unlike the rule about the trees, which seemed something she had always known, Biddy could dimly remember being given this one when she was four years old. She had been picking dandelions in the fields beyond the castle, the summer's grass swishing past her knees, when she had seen a black horse beyond the crest of the hill. There were no horses on Hy-Brasil: She had recognized it at once from pictures in her books, and her heart had thrilled. Its golden eyes had held her, beckoned her, and she had been venturing forward open-mouthed to touch its wiry mane when Rowan and Hutch had come from nowhere. She could recollect very little after that, but afterward Rowan had sat her down in the library for a rare serious talk and told her all about the Púca—that it was a shapeshifter, a trickster spirit who loved nothing better than to tempt unwary travelers onto its back, take them for a wild and terrifying ride, and dump them in a patch of thorns miles from home. She had found the thought more funny than scary at the time, but she had steered clear of any golden-eyed creature ever since.

Excerpted from The Magician's Daughter by H.G. Parry. Copyright © 2023 by H.G. Parry. Excerpted by permission of Redhook. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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