The Perilous Gard

The Perilous Gard, by Elizabeth Marie Pope

Have you ever read this wonderful 1974 YA novel?  It's just SO good.  And I say this as someone who does not care for historical fiction, which this is...mostly.  It's also a retelling of Tam Lin.  And I'm always up for a good Tam Lin story!

Kate (the awkward sister) and Alicia (the pretty, kittenish one) are ladies-in-waiting to the imprisoned Princess Elizabeth, but after Alicia angers Queen Mary, Kate is punished for it and sent to live at Elvenwood, where she must stay -- and although she is surrounded by castle folk and there's a village nearby, she is completely alone.  The villagers fear the castle and talk about the fairy folk who live under the hill, but Kate knows that's only superstition.  Except that here, children actually do disappear.  And Kate saw the Lady in the Green with her own eyes.  Who are the People of the Hill, then?

I just got my own copy of this novel recently, when it came across the donation table, and it's been sitting around waiting for me.  Then Chris at Calmgrove wrote a post about books with labyrinths, and I promptly needed to read The Perilous Gard right away!  Oh, it was lovely.  Now I'm want to read Borges, and this China Miéville novel I've never read, The City and the City, and while we're doing fictional cities, I want to read Gorodischer's Kalpa Imperial too.  Well, I have some Borges around, at least.  But there are so many great books I want to read right now


  1. I just reread this! (Hence my mention in a comment on Chris's post.)

    I agree, it is so good. I was always sad that Pope didn't write more novels. Have you read The Sherwood Ring?

  2. I wish she had written more too! I have read The Sherwood Ring -- I'm pretty sure there's a copy around here someplace. I should re-read that too; I was so startled by it being about early American history and not Robin Hood that I probably didn't appreciate it for what it IS. :D

  3. Books with labyrinths is a great theme and I didn't know about this one.


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