Book 91 of 2015: Emma and the Banderwigh by Matthew S. Cox


Ten-year-old Emma doesn’t believe in faerie tales or monsters that secret children away in the night–until she meets one.

She lives in a quiet village at the edge of Widowswood with her parents, her Nan, and her little brother, Tam. Ready to abandon the whimsy of childhood, she finds the boredom of chores comforting and Nan’s fanciful bedtime stories silly.

One morning, a wan and weary older girl staggers out of the woods and sets the entire town aflutter with whispers of a child-stealing monster lurking in the forest. Nan tells her of the Banderwigh: a dark soul who feeds on sorrow and drains the life from children’s tears.

Darkness comes calling on Emma’s happy home, threatening the reality to which she desperately clings. The impossible becomes more and more real, forcing Emma to reach inside herself for the ability to believe. Her family depends on it.

I received this book from the author, Matthew S. Cox, for an honest review. There was no compensation given (aside from the enjoyment of reading another book).

Emma and the Banderwigh is a book geared towards a younger audience than the other books I’ve read from Cox. From reading the acknowledgements (something I like to do), I learned that this story had started off as a short story and grew to what it is.

If you love fairy tales (like I do), Emma and the Banderwigh is a great addition to your fairy tale collection. Never mind that it is written by a modern-day writer, the story feels like a fairy tale and has similar workings to the fairy tales that we know and love.

Emma is a young girl (ten) who doesn’t believe in magic. She used to listen to her Nana’s stories all of the time and used to believe them, but the real life got in the way. Fairies aren’t real. That said, when a girl appears from the woods everything changes.

As a character, Emma makes for a believable girl (I love that Matthew Cox can do this). She helps her family whenever she can; she has a sense of loyalty and responsibility. She has a quiet strength to her. She’s not the strong-willed character who is brash. She thinks of what needs to be done and does it. She also fights for what she believes to be right, no matter if her opponent is a man or goblin. She is the kind of girl you want your neices or daughters to be.

I really liked this story. It was well written and the text had a magic to it that went beyond the actual story. I like Emma as a character and see her as a strong young girl who will be just as strong as she ages. That said, I only have one issue with it… there isn’t more.

Now, that doesn’t mean Cox won’t write more of Emma, but it left me wanting to see her have more adventures and grow. I want to know more about the world. I think this book would be a great beginning to a wonderful younger audience book series. One that I would love to follow. Granted, I’m not trying to persuade the author to do that, but I would like that… if at all possible.

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