Wednesday 20 November 2013

Review: Sussex Folk Tales

Sussex, with its beautiful countryside, the rolling hills of the South Downs, mysterious ancient sites, historic towns and villages, hill forts and castles, cliffs and beaches, is one of my favourite counties in England. It is also rich with folklore, which is why I picked up a copy of Sussex Folk Tales.
Now, books of folklore can sometimes be a bit dry and academic, but not this one. That's probably because author Michael O'Leary is a skilled storyteller. The way he writes makes you feel as though you are gathered around a hearthfire on a winter's evening listening to a raconteur weaving magic with his words to enthrall young and old alike.

Describing the book, publisher The History Press says on its website: "With screaming demons in Wealdon copses and dragons lurking in bottomless ponds, the folk tales of Sussex truly represent the diversity of the area. Meet knuckers and willocks, mawkins and marsh monsters, the Piltdown Man, Lord Moon of Amberley Swamp and the princess of the Mixon Hole… From ghosts and madmen to witches and wise women, Michael O’Leary reveals many of the hidden horrors of Sussex – horrors that can be found in the most beautiful places, or that lurk beneath the seemingly mundane. Amid these dark tales are stories of humour and silliness, of love, lust and passion."

Yet the stories in Sussex Folk Tales also made me realise that however well I thought I knew the area before, there is so much more that I haven't yet seen. Winter might be a time for reading stories of ghosts and fairies and ancient mysteries, but come the spring I know this book will inspire me to get my walking boots on and go to explore the places the tales came from.

You can order Sussex Folk Talesvia Amazon.

The photo at the top shows the South Downs in Sussex, with the Long Man of Wilmington chalk figure in the distance.

Links and previous related posts
Sussex Folk Tales (Folk Tales: United Kingdom)

1 comment:

Anna said...

Thanks for sharing - when I remember my childhood camping trips in the South Downs I still get this sense of an eerie magic in the landscape, so I will look out for this book!