Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Bell at Sealey Head

The Bell at Sealey Head
By Patricia McKillip
Ace Books, 2008. 277 pgs. Fantasy.

For hundreds of years the inhabitants of Sealey Head, a small fishing village, have heard an unseen bell toll exactly at sun down. Most residents don’t really even hear it anymore, but a few people have always wondered why. Gwyneth Blair, a wealthy sea merchant’s daughter who loves to write stories about the bell, Judd Cauley, the son of the Sealey Head Inn owner and avid reader, Hester the local wood witch, and her daughter, Emma, a maid at the large manor known as Aislinn House.

It seems as though life at Sealey Head will continue as it always has, until a few things happen all at once. Lady Eglantyne of Aislinn House begins to die and her grand-niece, Miranda Beryl, is sent for and Ridley Dow, a scholar, comes to investigate the mysterious bell.

It is soon revealed that a parallel world exists in Aislinn House where doors open at random to this other world. It is up to the main characters to figure out what the tolling bell has to do with both worlds.

Overall this was a very enjoyable, quick read. I did feel a little confused by the ending. I think some of the magic stuff needed to be clarified. I also felt like there were some scenes missing from the book. The nature of the story forced the author to jump around a lot, but when the story would return to a certain scene or character, sometimes I felt like too much had been skipped over.


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