The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle (2017)
NA Fiction | Paranormal | Romance | (TV-14)
“A contemporary romance inspired by Christina Rossetti’s eerie, sensual poem, “Goblin Market.” Four neighbors encounter sinister enchantments and a magical path to love in a small, modern-day Puget Sound town, where a fae realm hides in the woods and waters…
Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.
Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.
Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.
It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own.”
Expected Publication Date: October 01, 2017
*Keep reading for a Q&A with Molly Ringle plus a fantastic prize giveaway!
pooled ink Review:
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy to review!
This review will probably be one of my (rare) shorter ones because I don’t really feel like I have very much to say. Overall yeah this was definitely an entertaining read but it wasn’t as fantastic as the beautiful cover had made me hope for.
It’s a pretty typical paranormal romance story in that regard. On the one hand I was totally in love with the idea of a fae realm overlapping the human one (I love cross-over worlds that make you feel like if you could only find the right words to say or the magic portal in the woods (or wardrobe lol) that you could dance between our realm and another filled with magic).
I also think that the author had a really cool take on the classic “Goblin Market” poem by Christina Rossetti. But beyond that it was your typical “hot guys, beautiful girls, and bad bad paranormal creatures lurking in the woods” scenario. I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s a pretty cool idea and the characters had a good amount of depth, but the writing was lacking something and kept me from wholly believing in the story, connecting with the characters, or losing track of time.
And unfortunately when it got time for Livy’s big epic heroic adventure I was mostly skimming or out-right skipping pages. I don’t know, on one hand I thought it was a great idea but on the other it could only keep my attention in waves.
The characters are likeable, and I appreciate that they’re good people. The goblins and “locals” were also cool (I can definitely see Skye’s graphic novel being a hit). But for me this was a take it or leave it type of book. I mean yay that I read it but if I hadn’t my life wouldn’t have been lacking.
So yeah, I didn’t love it, but if you happen to be an avid fan of paranormal stories, romance, curses, and the like (a.k.a. if you liked Twilight but would be open to way cooler female characters) then you really ought to check this one out. It may have missed the mark for me but I’ve seen some reviews by people who have absolutely loved this one.
The Goblins of Bellwater lures you in with the clink of gold, the heat of the forbidden, and the promise of more. A creative take on a classic poem, this book is filled with romance and the dark prices it can pull from a soul.
Purchase here: The Goblins of Bellwater
Meet Molly Ringle!
Molly Ringle was one of the quiet, weird kids in school, and is now one of the quiet, weird writers of the world. She likes thinking up innovative romantic obstacles and mixing them with topics like Greek mythology, ghost stories, fairy tales, or regular-world scandalous gossip. She’s into mild rainy climates, gardens, ’80s new wave music, chocolate, tea, and perfume (or really anything that smells good). She has lived in the Pacific Northwest most of her life, aside from grad school in California and one work-abroad season in Edinburgh in the 1990s. (She’s also really into the U.K., though has a love/stress relationship with travel.) She currently lives in Seattle with her husband, kids, guinea pigs, and a lot of moss.
Q&A with Molly Ringle
How closely did you follow Christina Rossetti’s poem “Goblin Market” as a basis for the story?
I call this a book “inspired by” Rossetti’s poem rather than saying it’s “based upon” it, because I did veer from the poem a significant amount. I first read the poem a few years ago, and it intrigued me deeply. It’s evocative and strange, and, like a fairy tale, has many symbols and events that could be interpreted as having several different meanings. My assignment to myself was to use it as a jumping-off point for a modern paranormal novel, which would then go its own way as the plot required. What I kept from the poem was the basic surface framework: we have a pair of sisters, grown but on the young side, one of whom becomes enchanted by eating goblin fruit in the forest and begins wasting away as a result, alarming the other sister into seeking a way to save her. Since Rossetti’s poem ends with a fast-forward to the women being “wives” and telling their children about their adventures, and since I wanted to write a paranormal romance anyway, I gave my modern sister characters a pair of men to get involved with, in a double love story with eerie angles that I think match the eeriness of the original poem. Mind you, another interpretation of the poem is that the two women aren’t really sisters but lovers, which would be a different route to take and which I think would be lovely to see too!
Why do you think fairy tale and other myth and legend retellings are so popular right now?
I think they’ve always been popular! Maybe it’s a case of selection bias, because I personally have always been into ghost stories, fairy tales, and other supernatural lore, but it seems to me that human culture has never stopped telling such stories. As scholars of fairy tales will tell you, reading and writing about fantasy and the paranormal may look like escapism from reality, and someAmes I tell myself that’s what I’m doing, but in truth these stories end up giving us all the useful lessons about real life that any good stories do: empathy, courage, love, respect for nature and community, and the importance of thinking fancifully and creatively.
What do you find most challenging in writing a novel?
At first, it’s usually getting to know the characters. I tend to start with a general idea of who they are, but then when I begin writing, I realize there’s too much I still don’t know about these people and therefore they aren’t coming across as real yet. It slows me down in the early stages while I take breaks to write notes in which I interview them and figure them out. I also have a perennial problem with writing antagonists. They have to do fairly awful things (being antagonists and all), but I still want them to feel like real people (or other beings), and therefore I have to get into their heads and figure out why they would feel justified in doing such a thing. It’s not a comfortable place for my mind to go. I suppose that’s why I gravitate more toward romance and lightheartedness: I much prefer spending time with those who love and laugh.
What are the most magical places you’ve been to in real life?
Puget Sound and its surrounding forests and mountains—which is why I chose the area for the enchanted lands in The Goblins of Bellwater. Also some of the forests and meadows in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, where I grew up. Oregon and Washington are both overflowing with natural beauty and I’m spoiled to have spent most of my life here. In addition, some places in Great Britain have felt quite magical to me, such as Tomnahurich (Hill of the Fairies) in Inverness, Scotland; or Old Town Edinburgh with its many close alleys and dark medieval buildings and brick-paved streets; or Westminster Abbey, not only because of its beauty and its many graves of astoundingly famous historical figures, but because when I first visited it as a 19-year-old, I’d never been in any building anywhere near that old before (having grown up in the Pacific Northwest), and it blew my mind.