The White Hare by Michael Fishwick

white-hare

The one who doesn’t go straight home, the traitor,

The friendless one, the cat of the wood…’

A lost boy. A dead girl, and one who is left behind.

Robbie doesn’t want anything more to do with death, but life in a village full of whispers and secrets can’t make things the way they were.

When the white hare appears, magical and fleet in the silvery moonlight, she leads them all into a legend, a chase, a hunt. But who is the hunter and who the hunted?

In The White Hare, Michael Fishwick deftly mingles a coming-of-age story with mystery, myth and summer hauntings.

The White Hare by Michael Fishwick was the launch title for Head of Zeus’s new children’s imprint Zephyr. The protagonist is Robbie, who has just moved with his step-family to the rural village where his dad grew up and is grieving for his mother who recently died of cancer. With a tendency to start fires to deal with his anger, the atmosphere at home is tense and Robbie’s relationship with his father is slowly breaking down. Lonely, Robbie is grateful for his new friend Mags, who shows him the hills and the woods and the hollow caves of his new home. “That’s  the way it was with Mags. She put out his fires.”

A spooky page-turner, this novel interweaves a ghost story with vivid descriptions of the British countryside and ancient legends of a white hare. Folklore is taken very seriously in the village, which is alight with rumours that a white hare has appeared- said to be the spirit of a person who killed herself and who has now returned to take the life of her lover.

The book gets darker as the mystery of the white hare and Mags’ secret are revealed, dealing with both suicide and bullying. However, it is by no means depressive and beautifully captures the pain of a confused teenage boy and his healing process. I never felt that I could fully grasp what this book was about as it was very elusive and I can see how this could become frustrating for some readers. That said, the further along I got the more the suspense built up and more than once I felt a chill run down my spine.

I would recommend this haunting tale, especially to those who appreciate hare mythology and the ruthlessness of nature.

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