Hello my lovelies! I’m delighted to be on the blog tour today for Foxfire, Wolfskin and Other Stories of Shapeshifting Women. And I’m just going to come out and say it. This is the best short story collection I have EVER read. Strong claims, I know. So let’s see how I’m going to back it up, shall we? 😉
Drawing on myth and fairy tales found across Europe – from Croatia to Sweden, Ireland to Russia – Sharon Blackie brings to life women’s remarkable ability to transform themselves in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances. These stories are about coming to terms with our animal natures, exploring the ways in which we might renegotiate our fractured relationship with the natural world, and uncovering the wildness – and wilderness – within. Beautifully illustrated by Helen Nicholson, Foxfire, Wolfskin and Other Stories of Shapeshifting Women is her first collection of short stories. All are either reimaginings of older tales, or contain characters, beings and motifs which appear in older tales.
As soon as I heard about this collection, I knew I wanted to read it. And I had a feeling in my gut that I was going to love it. There is not a single weak story in this collection; I genuinely loved every last one. The writing is phenomenal throughout and I loved that the folklore inspirations for each story were explained at the end. The book also features stunning illustrations at the beginning of each story. I am seriously going to be pushing this book on everybody for the rest of my life.
I’m going to give you a few brief thoughts on each story, before letting you know how you can win a copy of this phenomenal book for yourself!
This was the perfect story to open this collection. It really kicks things off with a bang! It is honestly such a powerful little story and it’s not even 4 pages long. The writing is completely gorgeous and has such a dreamlike quality. So empowering! An instant favourite.
The Last Man Standing
Again, the writing is utterly beguiling in this story. This is a sad and haunting tale. Any mild confusion I had was cleared up by the author’s explanation at the end.
The Bogman’s Wife
This story started to bring in sensual elements (though never explicit) and it worked so well. Once again, I adored the gorgeous writing. It felt like I was reading an old fairytale.
I love the mythology behind this one! Another favourite from the collection. The imagery was fantastic.
Meeting Baba Yaga
If any of the stories in the collection spoke to me slightly less, it would be this one. The narrative voice was more modern and the narrator wasn’t the most likeable. Plus it was slightly weird for my tastes. But even saying that, it was still an enjoyable read. And I loved the nod to Pratchett’s Granny Weatherwax 😉
This one returned to the old folktale feel that I so love and adore. This was another favourite of mine (in part, because it made me think of The Scorpio Races!)
The writing!! I keep saying it but wow, heart eyes everywhere. This was so stark and beautiful and haunting.
The Saturday Diary of the Fairy Mélusine
The tone of this one felt very dark and scathing but wow, I still loved it. I’ve never heard of the mythology behind this one but it was absolutely fascinating to learn about.
The Madness of Mis
The second person narrative used throughout many of these stories is SO effective; it really makes you feel you are being told something ancient that has been passed down through the centuries. I don’t know how many times I can say I loved this. This story was another favourite, with its vivid descriptions and almost-poetic tone.
I Shall Go Into A Hare
I have to admit, it took me a minute to work out what has going on with this one! But I quickly got on board. I enjoyed the cyclical nature of this story, though there was something slightly disturbing about it too.
The Weight of a Human Heart
This story is written as a conversation between two women and both voices are so distinct. The emotion leaps off the page immediately. I could totally see this being performed in the theatre!
In my opinion, this is one of the darkest stories in the collection. I also thought it was one of the most unique; I’ve never read something based on flower lore before!
No Country For Old Women
This was a wonderful story to close the collection, bringing everything full circle. It was beautiful and uplifting.
How amazing does all of that sound?! I know for a fact that this book will make my top ten list at the end of the year. If you’d like to read it for yourself, just leave me a comment below telling me your favourite short story (it’s not a requirement, I’m just curious lol) and confirm whether you’re in the UK or Ireland. And if you want to increase your chances of winning, head over to my Instagram account! Good luck!
If you want to see what other readers think of this one, check out the other stops on the tour! x