#Review of the stunning novella – ORFEIA by Joanne M. Harris Illustrated by Bonnie M. Hawkins @Joannechocolat @BHHillustration @SueGent @Leanne_Oliver1 @gollancz @orionbooks #NewBook

By Joanne M. Harris
Rated: 5 stars *****

ORFEIA is based on a couple of the Child Ballads. It’s immersive and incredibly moving. It is a powerful and enchanting book. It is also very hard to put down once it’s started.
It is a emotional, beautiful, thought-provoking, moving and poignant tale of loss that I highly recommend.

I was so, incredibly pleased and full of joy and excitement, to receive a proof copy of the novella – ORFEIA at the request of Joanne Harris after a lovely chat. It was all very kind. I thank Bonnie Helen Hawkins and Joanne Harris for this amazing opportunity to write a review of ORFEIA after having read nearly all her books over the last 20 years. I thank Leanne Oliver at Gollancz/Orion for adding me to the review list and for sending me a copy of the book.

Below you can discover more about Joanne Harris, the blurb, review and social media links. This book is available for pre-order and will be published on 3rd September 2020.

About the Author

Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French writer, whose books include fourteen nevels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic, realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. CHOCOLAT has sold over a million copies in the UK alone and was a global bestseller. She is an Honorary Fellow of St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded and MBE by the Queen. Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as ‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion’. She plays bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16 and runs the musical story-telling show Storytime. Joanne Harris lives in Yorkshire, about 15 miles from where she was born.

ORFEIA Cover 2


From No1. Bestselling Author – Joanne Harris –
Orfeia is a gender-flipped retelling of the Orpheus Myth

When you can find me an acre of land,
Every sage grows merry in time,
Between the ocean and the sand
Then will you be united again’

So begins a beautiful and tragic quest as a heartbroken mother sets out to save her lost daughter, through the realms of the real, of dream, and even into the underworld itself.

But determination alone is not enough. For to save something precious, she must give up something precious, be it a song, a memory, or her freedom itself . . .

ORFEIA spine


ORFEIA is tragic, emotional, beautiful, thought-provoking, moving and poignant.
It’s an all consuming, immersive book in the most fabulous way. It wraps you up in its depths of emotion and takes you on a journey that I, certainly didn’t want to leave until the end, and even then, I know this won’t totally leave me. There are few books that remain with me so strongly after I’ve read them. This is one of them that does.

Queen of May had fallen in love with a man from the Folk and sacrificed a lot, so the tale goes. The grief of the loss of a child hits right to your soul.

Daisy Orr is 6 years old and plays the ‘pavement game’. A game familiar to many children or memories to many adults of not standing on the cracks, until she falls between them.

There are parts about identity from being a mother to suddenly, not being one and trying to make sense of that.

The way death and grief is described is beautifully written, in a way I’ve not seen it being done before, and yet it resonates and I am sure it will for so many people who have lost someone, especially a child.

Fay, who has lost her child comes across a few people near at Tube station in London and the dreams and reality is interestingly described and creates a very compelling tale.

Cobweb, Mabs, Moth, Peronelle are introduced to Fay by Alberon, they are found to be sleeping rough and the jovial atmosphere in contrast to the grief is striking. All is richly woven together, but then there’s the question of whether the people she met were real or if it was all a dream.

The story takes readers between reality and dreams where there are travelling people, silken people and the Shadowless Man and wild animals, such as the tiger. It’s all very atmospheric as both states are woven, seamlessly together to bring a fantastic story.
There are also some beautiful songs throughout. It’s all quite rhythmic in a sense.

There are warnings about travelling to ‘London Beneath’, even though it is richly enchanting with all its tribes and wares, but there is trickery all around as the tale layers up even more.

Fay has an interesting philosophy about memory, that’s very thought-provoking and beautifully tender.

The closing chapters are dark as the Hallowe’en King has something in the reflections to show Fay. There’s also in contrast, what the power of love can do.

The final page is one that I think may give a certain amount of comfort in times of grief.

The cover is beautifully created by Sue Gent. There are absolutely fabulous illustrations inside to accompany this story, produced by Bonnie Helen Hawkins. They are striking and evocative; sometimes dark, sometimes filled with beauty and emotion and always atmospheric and outstandingly drawn. She expertly interprets the written word in the most artistic way. How each character is captured and each picture also tells a story is pretty awe-inspiring as they leap off the page (almost). Between Bonnie Helen Hawkins and Joanne Harris, they are creating the most wonderful and beautiful books together. Others are A Pocketful of Crows and The Blue Salt Road; also based on the Child Ballads. Through Joanne Harris bringing the Child Ballads to light by writing books inspired by them, I feel I am also learning more about them.

Social Media Links

You can follow Joanne Harris on
Twitter: @Joannechocolat    Website     Tumblr

You can follow Bonnie Helen Hawkins on Twitter:

written by Louise



4 thoughts on “#Review of the stunning novella – ORFEIA by Joanne M. Harris Illustrated by Bonnie M. Hawkins @Joannechocolat @BHHillustration @SueGent @Leanne_Oliver1 @gollancz @orionbooks #NewBook

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