The Silver Gate by Kristin Bailey is set in medieval times, when superstitions ran high, and anything different was seen as an omen or curse. The people of the village are on edge. They’ve been dealing with one unexplained hardship after another. Perhaps, they think, a fairy curse has been set upon them – perhaps, unbeknownst to them, a changeling lives in the village. The child must be found and left to die so the rest of the villagers can survive – that is the rumor running throughout the town.
At the start of the story, Elric is running to the village church to get out of torrential spring storm. The whole village is gathered there for warmth and safety. Elric is the keeper of the village sheep and he’s lost them all in the storm. Everyone is cold. Everyone is angry. Everyone is working hard. It is easier to blame the next person for this present. misery. Elric isn’t looking forward to the cold muddy work of finding the sheep; neither is Hereward the keeper of the town’s pigs. It seems as though everyone is crowded, uncomfortable and on edge… and then, a baby starts cry.
“Shut him up,” the townspeople yell. “We’ve been cursed.”
It’s a changeling.”
“Cuthburt take the child and leave it outside where it belongs. The fairies can just take it back if it’s supposed to live.”
“What does it matter, it’s just a halfwit,” yells Hereward.
That’s all Elric can take. No one should live in fear of losing their child, half-wit or not. He helps the mother of the crying baby escape the church mob by throwing a punch at Hereward, the one who in their conversation about lost pigs and sheep had claimed halfwits had no reason to live. The brawl was ended by the priest. Elric can’t/won’t explain himself, nor will he apologize, so he leaves.
He leaves to keep his biggest secret. His mother is hiding and living with his disabled, “halfwit” sister in the forest. With all the talk or curses, Elric knows he must go and warn them. What he finds when he arrives sends him forth on a quest he is bound to make to honor the promise he made to his mother, to keep his sister, Wynnfrith, safe. How can you stay safe when the place you seek is from a fairy tale? Is it possible that trusting in fairy tales will help Elric and Wynnfrith survive? Read The Silver Gate to find out ~ sometimes you have to bring magic of your own to open doors.
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