The Folk Keeper

The Folk Keeper

4.2 14
by Franny Billingsley

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She doesn't really know who she is or what she wants...

Corinna is a Folk Keeper. Her job is to keep the mysterious Folk who live beneath the ground at bay. But Corinna has a secret that even she doesn't fully comprehend, until she agrees to serve as Folk Keeper at Marblehaugh Park, a wealthy family's seaside manor. There her

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She doesn't really know who she is or what she wants...

Corinna is a Folk Keeper. Her job is to keep the mysterious Folk who live beneath the ground at bay. But Corinna has a secret that even she doesn't fully comprehend, until she agrees to serve as Folk Keeper at Marblehaugh Park, a wealthy family's seaside manor. There her hidden powers burst into full force, and Corinna's life changes forever...

Editorial Reviews

Horn Book Magazine
In words as resonant as the sea itself, fifteen-year-old Corinna records her secret thoughts and strange talents, the truth behind the falsehoods she spins, and her true identity---for she has disguised herself as a boy named Corin so that she can be a Folk Keepers, Folk Keepers who used their knowledge of charms and the ways of the Folk to protect a household from wrathful spirits, have a greater measure of independence than most, due to the nature of their task. When Lord Merton calls Corinna to his deathbed and requests that she become the Folk Keeper of his vast estate and live there as a lady (or gentleman, if she should so insist), she believes that the power she has craved and fought for all her life is now within her grasp. Corinna finds that controlling the Folk at Marblehaugh Park, whose dark powers overcame the previous Keeper, is more challenging than she anticipated but discovers an even greater peril from an unexpected source. Drenched in imagery of the sea, the story draws on selkie lore, and Corinna's unusual, hidden talents take on new meaning once her true identity---a secret far greater than just her boyish diguise---has been revealed. Billingsley has created a memorable heroine, whose initial convictions aboutj power, self-sufficiency, and vengeance run aground when she is befriended by funny, compassionate Finian, the late Lord Merton's stepson. The intricate plot, vibrant characters, dangerous intrigue, and fantastical elements combine into a truly remarkable novel steeped in atmosphere.
Publishers Weekly
In our Best Books of 2001 citation, PW wrote, "Billingsley draws on storytelling traditions yet invents a thoroughly original subterranean world inhabited by menacing creatures called Folk. Hang on for a hair-raising ride." Ages 10-14. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
To quote KLIATT's Nov. 1999 review of the hardcover edition: Corinna, raised in a foundling home, takes over the role of a boy who had apprenticed to become the Rhysbridge Home's new Folk Keeper. Calling herself "Corin," wearing breeches, and cutting her strange silver hair (though it grows two inches every night), she protects the home from the dreadful, mysterious Folk who live in the cellars by means by strange rites and food offerings. Now, however, at the age of 15, Corinna has been summoned to the deathbed of the lord of a great manor, Cliffsend, to be the Folk Keeper there...She knows nothing of her parentage or her background, nor why she is so strongly attracted to the sea that surrounds Cliffsend. There she meets Lady Alicia, second wife of the lord, and her kind, handsome son Finian, as well as the nasty, ambitious Sir Edward, who wants Cliffsend for his own. Family secrets are gradually revealed as Corinna, still disguised as Corin the Folk Keeper, struggles to keep the Folk from harming the manor, falls in love with Finian, and discovers that she is the true heir to Cliffsend—and that Sir Edward wants to do away with both her and Finian. Corinna finds out that like her dead mother, she is a Sealmaiden, both seal and human; but that for her the power of love is greater than the lure of the sea...this slight book has the timeless quality of all good fables. A dark and riveting treat for fantasy lovers, with an appealingly mysterious cover.... (Editor's note: a Publisher's Weekly and School Library Journal Best Book, among other awards.). KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1999, Simon & Schuster,Aladdin, 162p., $4.99. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; September 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 5)
Library Journal
Gr 5-8-A young orphan charged with placating the volatile Folk, believed to control her people's fate, discovers the world of the sea and begins to understand her mysterious heritage. A gripping gothic romance and selkie tale rolled into one. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Franny Billingsley's The Folk Keeper (Atheneum, 1999), set in mythical England and written in diary form, is well suited to the audio format. The story is the folk record of Corinna Stonewall, a 15-year-old orphan girl disguised as a boy in order to be a folk keeper, rather than a servant. The job of a folk keeper is so important that it gives even an orphan power, and Corinna is determined never to be powerless. Corinna's voice, as brought to life by Marian Tomas Griffin, is clear and confused as only a teenager's can be. The folk keeper's job is to keep the Folk (strange, frightful creatures that live in caverns and passages under the cellar) happy or, at least, not angry. If the Folk become angry, they blight the crops and animals. When the folk record begins, Corinna has been keeping the Folk at the Rhysbridge foundling home happy. Dying Lord Merton bids her to go to his estate at Cliffsend to be raised as a lady, or as a gentleman, if she prefers to keep her disguise. She demands to be appointed folk keeper too, knowing a lady or a gentleman can be just as powerless as an orphan. Corinna finds secrets, danger, and even the promise of happiness at Cliffsend. Narrator Marian Tomas Griffin is an Irish actress and musician. Her accent is just enough to bring mystery and far off places to mind, but can be understood easily. Billingsley's words and Griffin's voice weave a beautiful and frightening world of magic, mystery, and deceit along with ladies in velvet, manor homes, and even love. The story will appeal to both boys and girls. It can be used to introduce folktales and the fantasy genre.-Suzanne Libra, Huron Middle School, Northglenn, CO Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Childrens Book Watch
Wonderfully narrated by Marian Tomas Griffin, Franny Billingsley's The Folk Keeper is the imaginative, entertaining, unabridged audiobook story of Corinna who, as Folk Keeper at the Rhysbridge Home, feeds the fierce, dark-dwelling cave Folk and thereby keeping them from souring the milk, killing the chickens, and venting their anger on the neighborhood. Corinna writes everything down in her Folk Record. But since only boys are permitted to be Folk Keepers, she must disguise herself as a boy, and it is a boy and a Folk Keeper she intends to stay. But then the Lord Merton (at whose bidding she became a Folk Keeper) is old and dying, her secret is threatened with exposure. Corinna must face herself, with the powers she has, to discover who she really is, why her hair grows two inches a night, why the sea draws her, what she really wants, and what future she can and will choose. Glowingly recommended for personal, school, and community library audiobook collections, The Folk Keeper is a superbly produced, technically flawless, 4 hour and 47 minute production on three cassettes.
—Childrens Book Watch
Betsy Hearne
True folklore is often fierce, especially when it hasn't been prettied up or dumbed down for fear of frightening children. Franny Billingsley's fantasy ''The Folk Keeper'' respects that power and combines the foreboding romance of ballads with the Gothic drama of ancient legends.The story of Corinna's survival sustains a lyrical narrative.
The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

Demco Media
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 7.64(h) x 0.76(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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