I first became aware of the Stonewylde series in 2010 after listening to the Damh the bard's Druidcast podcast interview with the author Kit Berry. Breaca from Celtic Moon told me she had started reading them and on that same day, in a spiritual shop in Rochester that was having a closing down sale I found 2 books from the series 'Moondance' and 'Solstice' at half price so I brought them.
I saw it as a sign.
I ordered the first book and I devoured them very quickly and I have just finished book 5 and the last book in the series.
Stonewylde's target audience is young adult but don't let that put you off, I know many of the readers are adults.
The story centres around a 14 year old girl living in London called Sylvie who is very sick, as if her body is allergic to the modern world. One of the doctors suggests she visits Stonewylde, an unspoilt estate in the depths of Dorset, run by the charismatic leader know as Magus.
Sylvie and her Mums life is turned upside down when they move in to the idyllic community, walled off from the outside world before Christianity took over as the main religion of the UK, Stonewylde is a pagan paradise. However not all is as it seems.
There are two types of people who live on the estate. The villagers, who live a life from a bygone era. Their cottages are rustic with no electricity and they work the land as labourers growing the food, chopping the wood, working the dairy and other work intensive jobs in tune with the natural rhythm of the landscape and the turn of the wheel.
The second type of people are the hall folk. These people can be identified by their blonde hair. They live in a magnificent Tudor building on the grounds and have access to class rate education and electricity and mod cons.
Yul is a village boy who is also one of the protagonist of the story. Through his eyes we see the beauty of Stonewylde, with it's cliff top views of the sea and ancient standing stones and stone circles and untouched woodland. But we also see a very dark and cruel side. These books are not for the faint hearted. It is shockingly violent in some chapters with Yul suffering from abuse at the hands of his father and the Magus. It might put some people off but for me it only served in making the story more real.
As Sylvie gets better from the Green magic given to her by Magus she discovers for herself the true beauty of the Goddess in the landscape and witness the magical rituals performed by the community. What I wouldn't give to take part in taking part in a Beltane ceremony in Stonewylde!
I'm not going to go any further then that about what the books are about, that should be enough to pique your interest.
These books take hold of you. The characters are believable, and rich. You care about them which is what made reading the last and final book so very difficult for me.
If you are interested in pagan fiction then I would recommend reading Stonewylde and when you do come join me and other fan over on the Stonewylde community at www.stonewylde.net
Stonewylde is waiting, are you ready?