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January 28, 2019
This January, we asked WOTS fans help us celebrate our first Book of the Month pick: The Grimoire of Kensington Market by Lauren B. Davis. Hear from two happy readers of Lauren’s new book, below:
Mary Ellen Crowe –
My favourite books have always involved a journey, reluctantly taken, by an underestimated heroine. Dorothy and Alice took such journeys and with them I struggled to understand the rules of Oz and Wonderland, and when both heroines returned home relieved and forever changed, I rejoiced in their hard-won victories and felt heroic myself for having accompanied them on their quest. So it is with Maggie, the heroine of Lauren B. Davis’ The Grimoire of Kensington Market, who undergoes a journey through “the Silver World,” which is really a journey to the center of herself. And because Maggie is a grown woman and a recovering addict of the insidious drug Elysium, her trials are unique and more adult than those of Dorothy and Alice.
Reminiscent of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen,” Davis has created a world at times nail bitingly terrifying, at others so deliciously comforting it ought to include recipes for pies, scones, hot cider and stew. Also, be warned that after reading Grimoire, one may have the most astonishing impulse to purchase a puppy. Badger, Maggie’s trusty companion, is as delightful as Dorothy’s Toto, and there are many other animal spirit guides to light Maggie’s path, reminding us that in many ways animals are so much wiser than humans.
But it is Maggie’s role as teacher and keeper of stories that is most heartwarming and important. Indeed Grimoire is a bibliophile’s dream since Maggie shares the wisdom that reading is a “kind of magic” that creates “worlds within worlds.” Indeed, after reading Grimoire, I felt a sense of satisfaction and completion. At the same time, I sense that more adventure lies in store for Maggie and her companions. Indeed, I do hope Davis allows us many visitations to the Grimoire.
This story strikes soul deep. First of all, no other author does dialogue like Lauren B. Davis. It’s always a joy to read the exchanges between her characters. And her gift for description—the worlds in this novel are rich and detailed. Not only can you smell them and feel them, you are IN them.
The author has told a story in the old ways—to nurture the reader’s spirit and guide her/him to a new way of being. The story reveals much about our society and our planet. I enjoyed how the author riffed on symbols in Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen and other fairy tales. The shards of broken mirror are metaphors for how the heart of the human race has been pierced. And a metaphor for how we too, have pierced the earth, our mother, who nurtures us. She is sick and dying, and our world is more entrenched in fantasy than ever before in history.
Fairy tales are meant to take one on a deeply symbolic journey within, and that is what the author succeeds at so brilliantly here. You might very well realize that you too have been devastated by childhood trauma and strayed from your true path, medicating sorrow through various addictions that keep you lulled and bewitched by the empty dreams they offer, removed from reality and far from love. All good magic brings healing, and that is what this story offers as a gift. Read it!