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Suspicious of sixteen-year-old Marnie, a newcomer to their village, the residents accuse her of witchcraft when she discovers that the village madman is not crazy but deaf and she begins to communicate with him through hand gestures.
The afternoon Marnie came to Torcurra, the villagers were whipping the devils out of a mad boy. She knew he was mad by the way he cried, his voice high and unnatural, with no words but only strange, wild sounds. She had seen a mad boy whipped before, long ago when she was a child. He, too, had made those outlandish cries, and old women said later that when he had made them, devils with pointed tails flew out of his mouth. There were no devils flying around this day, however. There were only the Torcurra fisherfolk gathered in the stony field beside their cottages, howling encouragement to the man with the whip, and the screaming mad boy stretched against the whipping post with his hands tied to an iron ring.
Rubbing her dusty fingers across her face, Marnie looked the opposite way, toward the placid sea. The wagon jolted over the rough track between the thatched cottages, and she shifted her position to ease the aching in her back. Even over the rumbling of the wheels she could hear the mad boy's cries. Struggling to shut them out, she studied the man sitting beside her. He was more than twice her age, with graying hair curling on his shoulders, and a swarthy beard. Dark-eyed he was, with a careless self-assurance and a charming, easy smile. Sensing her eyes on him, he turned and smiled sidelong down on her. His hat sat on a rakish angle on his head, and under the shading brim his eyes were invisible, yet she felt them roving on her skin.
"What things be on your mind, Marnie?" he asked. His voice was deep, rich and warm like the sun on new-cut hay.
"I'll be glad when we're in our new home, sir," she replied, not looking at him anymore, but at thhim. So overwhelmed was she with the honor of it, that she could hardly bring herself to look upon his face, but when she did, she glimpsed those dark eyes laughing in the firelight, and that roguish smile. She had been fifteen summers old.
"Let me hear you say my name," he said, bringing her back from the warm harvest memory. Lifting her head, Marnie looked at him straight. His eyes remained hidden in the shadow of his hat, but his lips were curved, and almost mocking.
"Your name seems strange to me, sir," she said very low. "But I will call you Isake, if that's your wish."
"My wish!" he exclaimed. "I've been wishing for it a year long, my lovely."
"It wouldn't have been right to call you by your name, you being a lord," she said. "Besides, we never spoke enough for me to use your name."
"True," he replied, laughing. "Not before your troubles began, anyway. Before then, you were always bent over the butter churn or else busy milking cows, or head down, tail up in the straw, looking for hens' eggs. Mind you, they all were pretty sights, though not conducive to lengthy conversation. Still, we shall make up for that."
Her face burned again as she thought of future summer evenings sitting with him in a strange house, knowing his eyes were watching her. Whatever would they talk about? Milking cows? Plowing? Sowing grain? But that life was forever gone, and she did not know, now, one thing they held in common. She pulled her cloak closer about her, and tried to calm the quivering in her limbs. Isake chuckled again, then flicked the reins at the horse, making the wagon bound over the stones. Marnie clung to the seat and tried not to bump against the man as they lurched down a sloping track to the beach. Once she looked behind her to see what was happening with the villagers and the mad boy, and glimpsed a priest running toward them. He was red-faced, furious, his fists raised; and the people were moving back, leaving the boy slumped by the post. The priest began to untie his hands, and Marnie looked away again, inexplicably relieved that the whipping was finished.
For a short distance the road was a stony track along the beach. Between it and the cottages scattered along the shore was a sturdy wall, the only protection the buildings had against the high and stormy tides. A few boats were pulled up against the wall, tied to metal rings set into the stones. At the end of the beach track, just before the wall petered out and the road swung inland to grassy slopes, stood a weather-beaten stone alehouse, ancient haunt of smugglers and pirates. The sign hanging above the door proclaimed the name: The Sage and Fool.
"Well, that's a fitting title," Isake remarked, handing Marnie the reins and climbing down from the wagon. "We've seen a lot of sages beating the devils out of a fool."
"Maybe we've seen a lot of fools beating a sage," she murmured.
Isake was yawning and did not hear. "I'll have an ale, and be back," he said. "Stay with the horse. A village that has a madman is bound to have a thief or two as well, and all we have to live on, at the moment, is on that wagon."
The wall was interrupted by steps leading directly to the alehouse door, and Isake's boots crunched on coarse sand and stones as he strode up them. He was a big man, stalwart and tall, and strong from laboring on his father's land. Unlike his two brothers, he had not been too proud to work, and the common people had loved him for it. He disappeared through the low door into the alehouse, and Marnie got down off the wagon and stretched. Never had she traveled so far on a wagon before -- never been more than half a day's walk from home -- and she was weary.
More used to labor than to sitting still, her small body was shapely and strong. Her face was striking, with astonishing blue eyes and a forthright look that got her into trouble on the farm. Various youths, reading her boldness as brazenness, had at different times tried to grab her in the hay barn or behind the stables, and been soundly walloped for their trouble. Humiliated, they each crowed of success, and gave her a name she did not deserve. They were one part of her old life she did not grieve to leave behind.
Going for a short walk along the road, Marnie inspected the tiny fishing hamlet she had come to. The cottages were small and tumbledown. Built of whitewashed stone and with low thatched roofs, they seemed dormant and withdrawn, as if centuries of battling against the sea had worn them out. Above their windswept roofs the sky glowered, heavy with impending rain.
Reaching the end of the beach track, Marnie peered past the bend to where a few more cottages crouched, unwelcoming and sullen, in the spiky grass. Between them, the road led to bleak hills, then beyond to farming villages where Torcurra fish was sold on market days. Marnie remembered her mother buying Torcurra fish at a market in her own pastoral village of Fernleigh.
Fernleigh. Marnie's heart ached with longing as she thought of it. It would be warm now, in her home, the air thick with smoke and the scent of rabbit stew. Her eleven younger brothers and sisters would be making noisy fun of their afternoon chores, and her mother...her mother...
Marnie pressed her fists against her eyes, and swallowed hard. When she felt calm again, she walked back to the wagon. Isake was still in the alehouse. Realizing she was hungry, Marnie reached under the heavy oiled cloth covering their belongings and took out a small parcel wrapped in white linen. It contained goat's cheese, fresh-baked bread, and apples. She sat on a rock with her back against the wall, unfolded the cloth, and selected an apple. As she ate she looked at the sea. Before this day she had not seen the ocean, except once from a great distance. The vastness of it frightened her, and she marveled that the water did not all pour away over the remote edge. Did it endlessly claw its way up onto the sand and stones, she wondered, to keep itself from flowing out the other way? Did it never rest? And what happened to boats that went too close to the far edge? She sighed, too tired now to contemplate such wonders. Enough that there was pleasure in the salty tang of the wind, in the wild cries of the seabirds as they fought over fish, and in the way the sky colors lay in a long ribbon along the wet shore.
Finishing the apple, she put the remaining food in the wagon, and climbed back up to her seat. To pass the time she tried to imagine her new home. Isake had told her little about it; only that it had belonged to his grandmother and not been lived in since, and that it was worth more than all his father's lands put together. It must be grand, she thought.
The skies darkened, and rain began to fall. There was nowhere to shelter, and she refused to crawl under the wagon cover like a dog. So she sat there, pretending she did not n otice the rain. People came running to their homes, and a few children stopped to stare at the stranger sitting on the wagon in the downpour. Their mothers hurried them inside, banging the doors shut against the weather and the newcomer. The rain fell more heavily. Marnie dragged her cloak over her head, and looked hopefully toward the alehouse door. Surely he would come out soon to take her home. But he did not, and she waited another hour, while the rain pelted down in torrents. It stopped at last, leaving her cold, angry, and soaked to the skin. Wringing out a corner of her cloak, she dried her face. When she looked up she saw that she had company.
The mad boy was standing between the wagon and the sea, watching her. Fear swept over her, but there were no demons crawling out his ears, and he looked too calm to be menacing. Curious, Marnie observed him.
He was not a boy, she realized; he was a young man, perhaps a little older than herself. His eyes were age-old, sad, and an unusual violet gray. Long hair, dark as coal, shone wet against his pallid skin, and a shadow of a beard darkened his jaw and chin. His cheeks were bruised, there were welts on his wrists from the binding, and his knuckles were raw. He had been cut badly on the head, and blood, faint-colored from the rain, ran down his shoulder and chest. He was wearing a ragged brown knee-length tunic, but no leggings or shoes.
"Good day," Marnie said, and immediately thought it was a heartless thing to say to one who had just been whipped. But if her words seemed callous, the youth gave no sign of offense. He just stared at her, his eyes wise and knowing, the color in them melting with the sky, with the rain that still fell on the dis tant sea.
"What's your name?" Marnie asked, smiling.
The youth did not reply, but seeing a rare friendliness, he stepped closer, limping on the sharp-edged shells and stones. Marnie could smell the wetness in his tunic, and the blood and sweat on him. He looked hungry, hungry in his body and his soul.
"Would you like something to eat?" she asked.
He said nothing, so she reached behind her, lifted the waterproof covering, and took out the packet of food. As she raised the covering, water poured off it onto the mad youth, and he leaped back, making unearthly grunts. Fearfully Marnie glanced at his mouth, expecting to see it contorted by escaping demons, but he was only laughing. His face was transformed, appealing, and something in it, in the look of him, tugged at her heart. She unwrapped the cloth and held it out. He took it in both hands, wonder in his gray eyes.
"Take it all," Marnie said. "We don't need it. My man will be so full of ale, he won't have room for food."
Carefully the youth wrapped the cloth about the food again, flashed her a stunning smile, then turned and hobbled away. The back of his tunic was stained with stripes of blood.
"I'd like the cloth back!" she called, but he ignored her.
She watched him run awkwardly up the rough road toward the dismal hills, then sighed, stretched her cold and cramped body, and looked again at the alehouse. But no one came out. Other men went in, and sometimes she heard loud laughter and a shout or two.
Day darkened to night, and the early summer air grew chill. In the patches of deep blue between the clouds, stars glimmered.
The alehouse door opened, and Isake staggered down the steps.
Copyright © 1999 by Sherryl Jordon
Posted September 23, 2005
Everyone expects to stroll through life quite easily. But for Marnie, life just couldn¿t wait. Her Father Michael suddenly gets paralyzed so Marnie is forced to take her father¿s shifts at the manor house , to keep her family, and her father from being thrown out on the street. But unfortunately, that was not good enough for the owners of the manor the Isherwoods. Isake, a person twice Marnie¿s age and one of the sons, soon takes a fancy to Marnie , and makes a deal with her. Her family can stay on the land, only if she marries him. These are some of the many problems Marnie is faced with. To save her family Marnie Goes along with the agreement and soon Is wed to Isake.. But when they get to Tocurra, she finds herself in a beaten up widow¿s shack., Marnies new husband told her he had only has a small drinking problem. But he lied. It turns out that Isake has a very big drinking problem and every night he abuses Marnie into a sexual relationship she hates. But then Isake dies from a fall from the roof, trying to patch a hole, Saving Marnies feelings .She soon Finds herself in the arms of Raver ' the towns Mad Man.' The feelings I felt when I read this book was a hate for Isake, But a love for this mysterious ' Mad man' named Raver, who is soon renamed Raven when Marnies figures out that Raven is deaf. I would recommend this book to all who feel the desire to read it. But save it for the mature teens.
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Posted June 26, 2008
Sherryl Jordan has created a classic, no doubt about it. The ostracized, young, mysterious new widow and the town crazy boy (who is actually deaf) form a strange bond that the people who reject them can't possibly understand. Faced with the accusation of being a witch, the young heroine is vulnerable and yet incredibly strong. She's not one of these weak girls prone to flights of fancy and temptation. Detail and characterization- along with powerful emotional struggle- make this novel truly moving and life-changing. There will be tears, sighs, and moments of white-knuckled worry, but readers somehow know, everything will be okay in the end.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 11, 2013
This book is one of my all-time favorites. I reread it several times a year, and closing the book at the end leaves me with a sense that all is right with the world. Sherryl Jordan--an author I've followed since childhood--writes with such emotion and grace that the characters seem to leap off the page.
Marnie is a young woman married to Isake Isherwood. He takes her far from her family to a small seaside villlage, where he refuses to tell why they are there. Marnie, obedient to her new husband, wonders, but doesn't question him. Wedded bliss is not everything she thought it would be, and her only comfort comes from her budding friendship with the village priest, Fatther Brennan. When tragedy strikes and her husband dies, Marnie is a young widow left alone to fend for herself in a small hovel on the edge of the village.
However, an unexpected friendship blooms when she meets a young man who the villagers have dubbed "Raver," fearing him to be mad. Marnie realizes that "Raver," whom she renames "Raven," is merely deaf, not mad. She teaches him her own form of sign language, and the terrified young man begins to thrive in the care of a friend who suddenly gives him a language and a voice. It's a beautiful book, and as I said, it is one I continuously go back to over the years.
Posted August 30, 2011
I have read this book at least 5 times and each time it gets better and better. This book is filled with just the right amount of drama, love, and friendship.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 16, 2007
Posted March 16, 2007
I enjoyed this book. It was written well and had a pleasent story line about being kind to those that everybody ignores or makes fun of, acompanied with a touch of romance. It wasn't a book to read over and over or anything, but it was okay.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 13, 2006
I have read this book 5 times and I still could read again and again! The story draws you in and does not let go. It is such a beautiful and tragic tale with a suprise ending. This is a must read! Do not pass this one up, you won't regret it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 24, 2006
I read this book about 6 years ago, and I still can't stop thinking about it.(Which means I should probably just buy it sometime soon!) It is not one of your everyday expected releases that are best sellers, and it's not something you can read everyday, but excellent and totally in the dark. It should be re-released so more people can read it because it is absolutely phenomenal.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 3, 2006
This book, is so good! An excellent love story, and Raven sounds like a hottie. Haha. little kids shouldn't read it, just because it's 'inappropriate', but anyone who likes a really cute love story, this is one of them! And Marnie was very smart in figuring out that Raven was deaf, and not mad. I highly recommend this one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 30, 2005
i loved this book! when i first read the title i was already hooked! 'The Raging Quiet' was a title that popped out of all the others and without even reading the back, i checked it out and read it in one setting! i love the way Marn stands up for what she believes and doesn't back down for no one. and how she gave Raven a chance to communicate with someone. i especially loved Raven because he was beaten and outcasted for a disability he couldn't help. the romance b/w M&R only seemed natural because of their method of communication. this book is highly recommended for it's ability to take you to a place in the world where you could almost smell the salt in the air and feel the emotions of the main characters.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 17, 2005
Posted January 10, 2005
Okay, Here is what I thought it was such a good book I mean to think that sshe would actually risk her own reputation to help a nice little kid. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH> It was so sweetWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 14, 2004
The story was great but I highly recommend that 'younger' readers should not be allowed to read it. I loved the plot! I don't know why, but the problems with Marnie's first husband disturbed me. I'm not looking for a story that is 'happy-go-lucky' all the time, but I would enjoy something a little less,...'there are no words...'
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 3, 2004
This is a beautifully written story with lush imagery. The storyline is breath-taking. It brought tears to my eyes. It was positively enchanting. The story is amazing from the start. There's never a dull moment.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 18, 2004
Posted January 25, 2004
Posted October 18, 2003
This book is extraordinary, and that is saying a lot when I am an avid reader, with many tresured books on my shelves. I was amazed by the honesty and the raw emotion in the writing. It is so rare for me to find a book that literally leaves me breathless on the last page. Almost anyone can find a part of themselves in these characters, and you soon find yourself so tangled and overwhelmed by Raven and Marnie's friendship, you wish the book will never end. However, the conclusion of this excellent story is so perfect and flows so delicately off the pages, you, or at least I, find yourself completely satisfied.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 19, 2003
This book was amazing!!! I couldn't put it down (literally my teachers kept getting mad that i would keep picking my book up) I WANT TO CONTACT THE AUTHOR TO TELL HER TO WRITE A SEQUEL!!!!!!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 28, 2003
Posted January 13, 2003
This has got to be one of the best books I have ever read! I loved it and couldn't put it down. It was very heartwarming, full of emotion and suspense, and I didn't want it to end. I wish the author would write a sequel to it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.