Greymist Fair

Greymist Fair cover
Greymist Fair by Francesca Zappia

By Francesca Zappia
Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2023
336 pages

Age 12 and older

Heike’s mother kept the villagers of Greymist Fair safe before her death, using magic to appease the witch who controls the wargs—spirits of the dead that attack and kill those who stray from the path in the surrounding forest. At least that’s what Heike was taught. Heike grew up learning the tailor’s trade along with magic from her mother, but is worried she doesn’t know enough to continue to protect the village. Brown-skinned Wenzel, Heike’s best friend, was abandoned in the village as a child by his abusive father and now runs the inn he inherited from his adoptive parents. Liesl’s brother was recently killed by wargs. Another victim, Katrina, was the privileged, sheltered, curious daughter of Lord and Lady Greymist. Fritz is so desperate for companionship that he follows the bidding of self-centered, disaffected, cruel Hans. Visiting Prince Altan is overly enamored of his magical gift and ripe for a lesson. Kind and knowing Doctor Death is a stark contrast to bitter, lonely Death themself. There is tension within and across the nine interconnected stories that follow these characters in this absorbing work that builds to a climax in which Heike is ready to risk everything on compassion, not magic, as she seeks to save her village. Based on a number of lesser-known Grimm’s Tales as well as “Hansel & Gretel,” this atmospheric, immersive novel has a setting that feels old-world European, including most characters reading as white, while embracing 21st-century sensibility regarding love and identity.   ©2023 Cooperative Children’s Book Center