Read The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope Richard Cuffari Online


In 1558 while imprisoned in a remote castle, a young girl becomes involved in a series of events that leads to an underground labyrinth peopled by the last practitioners of druidic magic....

Title : The Perilous Gard
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780395185124
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 280 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Perilous Gard Reviews

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2019-04-01 21:59

    Of the several Tam Lin retellings I've read, the classic YA novel The Perilous Gard is a standout. I frequently sing the praises of Pamela Dean's version of Tam Lin, while knowing full well that that novel will only appeal to a limited subset of the fraction of readers who like fairy tale novelizations. Well, this one is for readers who prefer a more traditional retelling of Tam Lin. It also, by the way, leaves out the racier aspects of the Tam Lin story (the woman who saves her lover from the fairy queen is pregnant with his child), so this one's safe for the younger crowd, but still complex and intriguing enough for adult fantasy readers. In this 1974 Newbery Honor book, the Fairy Folk are an ancient and mysterious Druid-like people living in caves deep under the earth(view spoiler)[, and they are determined to make a human sacrifice on All Hallows Eve (hide spoiler)].The year is 1558. Queen Mary is on the throne, and Lady Elizabeth (later to be Queen Elizabeth I) is exiled to a drafty English manor house with a few ladies in waiting, including Kate and her lovely but airheaded younger sister Alicia. Kate ends up being blamed for something Alicia has done (which is par for the course) and is exiled even further away to the northernmost parts of England. There is something very strange about the mansion she is sent to live in, called the Perilous Gard, as well as the people who live in this house, including a troubled young man named Christopher, and the frightened and highly superstitious villagers. But it turns out that the villagers have good reasons to be fearful and superstitious, and Christopher, excellent reasons to be troubled. His four year old niece Cecily disappeared some time ago, and he blames himself for her loss. Christopher and his older brother, Sir Geoffrey, try to tell Kate to mind her own business and stay out of trouble:"You know the old proverb that there's no sense meddling in what you can't mend? -- Didn't your father ever say that to you?"Kate nodded a little doubtfully. "Well," she began, "he --""Then you take his advice if you won't take mine. He has the name of being a wise man, your father."The corner of Kate's mouth quivered very slightly. She had often heard her father quote that proverb; he said it was invented by fools to save them the trouble of thinking.So Kate, of course, decides to dig into the mystery, and after some initial resistance, Christopher takes her into his confidence. Gradually Christopher and Kate begin to piece the clues together and realize (we're getting into semi-spoilerish territory here now) (view spoiler)[that Cecily has been taken by the Fairy Folk to pay the teind, or human sacrifice, that the Fairy Folk believe is needed to keep the world in order. Christopher does what he thinks he needs to do (he offers himself to the Fairy Folk as a willing substitute for his niece) and Kate, who knows too much for the comfort of the people in the Perilous Gard who are dealing with the Fairy Folk, ends up being handed over to the Folk as a human servant. (hide spoiler)] It's up to Kate to use her wits to try to save both Christopher and herself.This is a very good version of the Tam Lin tale, with a subtle magical realism to it, but what kicks it up from 4 stars to 5 for me is the outstanding ending. The last twenty pages contain a surprise or two for both Kate and the reader, and are both heartwarming and a great life lesson. I love this book (I've read it at least 3 or 4 times over the years) and highly recommend it, for both young and older readers.

  • Sarah
    2019-04-04 20:59

    Books like The Perilous Gard remind me of why I love to read.Our story begins in England, summer of 1558, in an unpleasant castle where Princess Elizabeth Tudor keeps a small retinue, ever watched and harassed by her angry half-sister, Queen Mary. I knew right away that I was in good hands because Elizabeth Marie Pope conveys deftly that Mary bullied Elizabeth without making the older royal out to be a one-dimensional monster. One of Elizabeth’s ladies-in-waiting, a stupid beauty named Alicia Sutton, writes an angry letter to Queen Mary complaining of the conditions at Hatfield. Mary is infuriated by the letter, but believes Alicia too sweet and witless a creature to have composed it herself, so the royal punishment falls instead on the head of Katherine, Alicia’s plain-looking and plain-spoken older sister.Princess Elizabeth has no choice but to send her friend Katherine to the place “suggested” by the Queen: Sir Geoffrey Heron’s desolate manor, Elvenwood Hall, sometimes called the Perilous Gard. Elizabeth promises to retrieve Katherine as soon as she has the power, but that doesn’t seem likely in the foreseeable future…Kate soon discovers a number of things awry at the house in the spooky Elvenwood. Her host, Sir Geoffrey, is the picture of chivalry to her, but won’t even acknowledge his younger brother, the troubled and handsome Christopher. Sir Geoffrey’s little daughter is missing or dead, and everyone has a different story regarding what became of her. Master John, the steward of the house, is keeping secrets from the household he serves. The poor folk in the nearby village live in a constant state of servile dread, and it is not the family of the castle that frightens them. And rumors swirl of a malevolent race, human-like but not human, who live in a labyrinth below the ancient town well and are responsible for all manner of dark deeds in the neighborhood…Pope’s writing is meticulous, and this novel does not leave a single thread of its tapestry dangling. Every detail becomes important by the end. The world-building is so thorough that you might feel a wave of homesickness for the Gard once you put the book down.The characters, particularly Kate and Christopher, are lovable and flawed and full of life. (view spoiler)[Pope creates a great deal of tension between those two, even though there’s a notable lack of sensual description. They don’t kiss until the very last page—and even then, it’s implied—but the dialogues between them sparkle, with the true meanings of their words concealed. They are now one of my OTPs and I’m only sorry I didn’t meet them earlier. (hide spoiler)]The themes of the story are rich, and I didn’t expect many of them going in. (view spoiler)[There are questions here about paganism versus Christianity in British history, and whether or not magic can real or smoke and mirrors. (hide spoiler)] All this is built into an enthralling historical fantasy that surges to a perfect climax and a eucatastrophic ending.In short, if you loved any of the following:The ballad of Tam LinCupid and PsycheYeats’ "Stolen Child"The Witch of Blackbird PondThe Silver ChairThe Dark is Rising seriesLabyrinthThe Queen’s Thief seriesCrown Duel and Court DuelWildwood Dancing or ShadowfellThe Spiderwick ChroniclesThen treat yourself to The Perilous Gard.

  • Cara
    2019-04-08 20:55

    Gosh, I had forgotten so much since I first read this. I read it a couple of years back and every time I thought of the book I had fond memories, but why exactly it had that effect was slipping from my memory. Honestly I read this book because it was labeled fantasy and at the time that was all I would read and it was one of the only books in the library I hadn't read (it was averysmall library). The cover wasn't glittery or a standout in anyway, but I dived in regardless of the cover. This book is one those "hidden gems", not too many people know about it but those who do love this story.Kate is a lady in waiting for Lady Elizabeth, but because of a certain questionable letter that her sister Alicia sends to Queen Mary, she is sent away to live at the Perilous Gard. There are many tales regarding this place, but Kate being the level headed girl she is doesn't put much thought to the wild tales. That is of course until she gets there and sees that maybe all the fairy talk about the place might have some merit. While she is there she meets Christopher Heron and she finds out fairly quickly that his carrying a huge burden on his shoulders and yup you guessed it, it all has to do with the fairies. Both Kate and Christopher find themselves immersed in this world that is not as magical as everyone assumes.Of course the true standout thing from all this for me was the dynamic between Kate and Christopher. I have never seen a relationship quite like theirs. It's just so.... perfect because there isn't a single drop of over the topness in sight. Kate herself is a strong character and never backs down even when it seems there is no hope. She can appreciate attributes that the fairy people have, but never condones them for their behavior. Something very hard for any noraml human being to do. I absolutely loved the climatic scene. It was done just the right way. Really no complaints at all, even if at the end I wanted more. *sigh* The life of the reader huh? Always feeling a little robbed but somehow always going back for more.Really all that aside do pick up the book. Any fans of this type of literature are guaranteed to fall in extreme like for the story of Kate and her journey.

  • Jeanette
    2019-04-11 17:52

    Delightful read. This was also rather unique. It fit the Tudor (1558)Hatfield and Norfolk placements to a superb degree. The combination of genre was also, IMHO, highly unusual. Not completely historical fiction, not truly a novel of manners and guile, not cored in romance, crossing cultural boundaries with the "other" economic class. And skirting the magical and characters of myth? Or clan, as in a much older society form? Regardless, the writing and thought patterns of our lady protagonist were complex, fully emotive of human nuance, and the physical nature of descriptions not one bit shabby either.Thank you to the GR friend who recommended this book.

  • Mariel
    2019-04-14 17:59

    Elizabeth Marie Pope's The Perilous Gard taught me a lesson that what can get under one person's skin, sink into their minds and out and out *haunt* them is nothing but a casual read to someone else (alrighty, I've learned this lesson before. But you know what they say, if it didn't stick then you didn't really learn it). When I read and fell in love with 'Gard', I excitedly presented it to my twin (whom I at least attempt to share with anything that matters to me). "Oh, I read that years ago." She didn't even think that it might appeal to me, and she knows my interest in Tam Lin based stories. *grumbles* Even if it didn't scream "Mariel" to her as it should have done... (Or not, as I thought it would be something she would love, only it wasn't.)So I don't know if any descriptions I can muster up about the atmosphere of this book will convey much. I don't know what is going to get to someone else. Sometimes these things are like musical taste and what sounds good to someone else doesn't to another.It really got to me. I cannot stand to be under ground, in body or in mind. (One of the scariest moments of my life was a mandatory spelunking trip for a geology lab.) Reading about anything underground gets to me like not much else. (C.S. Lewis' The Silver Chair is my earliest memory of an underground read freakout. It's still my favorite in the Narnia chronicles. Part of me wants the freakout, but I'm kinda sick anyway.) Reading about what Kate goes through, and feeling like I was there with her, was intense for me. Kate's struggle to survive in that mindfuck of an underground faery land... Well, I know this is a Tam Lin story, but I was more riveted by her saving herself than her battle for Christopher from the fae queen. Luckily, this is not a the boy is mine story. Kate triumphs over her own fears, and what she holds to be right in a world that beats you down in innate sickness. Christopher is free to make his own decisions, which was the important thing. I wasn't all that invested in him as a love interest. I didn't care about that. I LOVED this depiction of the faery world. Kate's mental energies were my hook, line and sinker.The beginning of the story is set in 1558, and Kate is shuffled back and forth to wherever she and her sister can best be used for political gain. Her selfish sister ruins things for Kate in the court of Queen Mary Tudor. Elizabeth makes a brief appearance herself. Although this isn't that kind of historical drama, I appreciated that neither Elizabeth or Mary are favored. It was always confusing to read one book where Elizabeth is the hero, and then another with Elizabeth as the bitch. Taking sides now seems kinda silly to me.The setting is important to depict the ancient fae connections to the humans they need to pay tribute, and how the changing of times threatens that way of life. This isn't really an historical tale, no matter what the packaging says (or ahem my own book tags). At least not to that specific time. If anything, one could argue any time after another would be like this: made smaller. Beliefs can change, and change back. 'Gard' could have been set in any time and be relevant to it.The twin and I were like Heavenly Creatures without the matricide with our royal lines fixations. We'd love to read histories, and then the historical fiction stories, and make up our own dramas based off all of it. Come to think, I should've known my twin had whacked out tastes: She had an Oliver Cromwell phase in middle school! That's just crazy. Don't trust her word on The Perilous Gard. *I* never had an Oliver Cromwell phase.

  • Jacob Proffitt
    2019-04-19 23:10

    I know I've read this before—some images and scenes stand out in memory. Fortunately for me, I couldn't remember much more than a set piece here or there. Which means it was like reading it for the first time, only with a pleasant tang of anticipation for spice.Not that the book needed any kind of boost. It's a near perfect fantasy novel of the mostly-realistic sort. It's historically based (1558, to be specific), but the Fair Folk are real enough to be a threat. I could go on about the intricacy of the setting, but to be honest, I couldn't really care less. Truth told, I love Kate so much that it didn't really matter.I'm tired enough (having stayed up way too late finishing the book), that I'm struggling getting anything more on record. So I'll leave it with this: I was completely charmed by both the book and the heroine. They are (book and woman) strong, brave, and smart. And that's a killer combination...

  • Nikki
    2019-04-05 22:58

    The Perilous Gard was a reread for me — somewhat at random, in fact. It’s just by my elbow in my new desk/shelf set-up, and I was procrastinating on my assignment, and I found myself reading it… And I have no idea why I rated it so poorly before. The writing is great; you can envision every scene, whether it be the sumptuous bedroom Kate awakes in or a grassy hollow in the wood, the overhanging threat of stone and stone and more stone or the brightness of a Faerie gathering. It makes every scene come alive, and the characters too — slightly silly, trusting Alicia; sensible, awkward Kate; torn and guilty Christopher.The love story works perfectly for me, as well: not surprising, perhaps, considering the way they needle each other. The way Kate refuses to put up with Christopher’s dramatic manpain while still sympathising and understanding and trying to help him. The way that they fall in love, talking about practicalities of draining fenland and building a farm. The way that they keep each other sane and whole, and find each other in the end.And there’s subtlety in most of the characterisation, too: the Faerie Folk are strange, and think differently, but there’s moments where their emotions seem close to human, where Kate comes close to understanding them, and they her. The only really unambiguously bad one is Master John, who organises things so he can profit from the Faerie people and their Holy Well. They act according to their nature, while he is cowardly and motivated by greed.It’s also lovely the way it’s woven in with real history: I don’t know if Alicia and Kate were real people (however far from reality this book goes with the fantasy elements), but the story is close enough that it might be, with them waiting on Princess Elizabeth during Queen Mary’s reign, and exiled for interfering. The clash between pagan and Christian is one that many books have touched on, and this one does so with a fairly light hand (and is isolated from the difficulties of Catholicism and Protestantism that went on at the time, though I think Kate is clearly a Protestant), but it works.The accompanying illustrations are also, for the most part, charming, with just the right amount of life and movement.Originally posted here.

  • Suzannah
    2019-03-28 01:53

    (Review originally published at Vintage Novels).Elizabeth Marie Pope is an author (of vintage YA historical fantasy) whose books I've been waiting to try out for quite a long time. My opportunity came a few short months back when I finally tracked her books down on Open Library (which is an amazing source for vintage and otherwise hard-to-find books!). I read The Sherwood Ring just before Christmas, and found it every bit as adorable as I'd ever heard it was, though I had a couple of philosophical cautions; but my interest was whetted in Pope's other book, The Perilous Gard, when a friend told me it was by far her favourite of the two.At first, I was a little unsure about this. From the book's description, I half expected it to be a typical pro-pagan narrative about the niceness and feminist smarts of pre-Christian Celtic culture:In 1558, while exiled by Queen Mary Tudor to a remote castle known as Perilous Gard, young Kate Sutton becomes involved in a series of mysterious events that lead her to an underground world peopled by Fairy Folk—whose customs are even older than the Druids’ and include human sacrifice.Well. Yikes. Was I wrong. I obviously didn't read the description quite carefully enough:—whose customs include human sacrifice. And so. And so...Katherine Sutton is clumsy, tart, clever...and accustomed to getting the blame for the crazy schemes thought up by her impulsive sister Alicia. So she isn't really surprised when an ill-advised letter to Queen Mary complaining about living conditions at Hatfield Manor with Princess Elizabeth results in her own exile to a castle in the craggy forests of Derbyshire. Upon her arrival, Kate is mystified by the inhabitants' suspicious behaviour, the mysterious Holy Well in the valley behind the castle, the old legends of elves and fairies surrounding the castle itself...and the peculiar behaviour of Christopher Heron, the younger brother of the castle's lord, who lives in a leper's hut eking out an agonising penance for the disappearance of a child for whom he was responsible. When Kate figures out what happened to little Cecily, Christopher comes up with a wild plan to recover her from the half-legendary People of the Hill--and Kate, almost against her will, is also swept into the strange land under the Hill.I was astonished to find how many elements The Perilous Gard shared with my own new release, The Bells of Paradise--to the extent that I'm glad I didn't read the former until after the latter's publication. Both stories include elements of the old tale of Tam Lin--The Perilous Gard is an intriguing retelling of the story. Both stories are set during the reign of Queen Mary, and the accession of Elizabeth I strikes a note of resolution near the end. And both stories take place in the wild woods of Derbyshire.Unlike Bells, however, The Perilous Gard demythologises Tam Lin and the fairies somewhat. Kate, a very rational, sensible heroine, discounts out of hand the idea of anything being particularly magical about the People of the Hill. The ending gives no more than a hint that they might be anything but very different, very strange human pagans. Now, normally I don't like it when modernists suck all the magic out of old legends. Tales like King Arthur and the Trojan War lose all their stature when they're retold in strictly mundane terms. The Perilous Gard, however, avoids this trap in two ways. One of those ways is by telling a story of real emotional import, a story with a great sense of beauty and nobility. The other way is how Pope gives us a wonderful counter-myth to the ugly, bloody pagan myth of the People of the Hill: a very clear, unambiguous Christian message. I was so stunned with this I almost couldn't believe my eyes when I first encountered it:"How can you tell what I meant to do? How can I? How can anyone? I think the damned souls in hell must spend half their time wondering what it was that they really meant to do.""If you think the damned in hell spend their time doing that, then you can't know very much about the damned in hell," Kate retorted furiously. "I am utterly at squares with this childish dealing. Why in the name of heaven don't you go down to the village and make a proper confession to the priest and let him tell you what penance you ought to be laying on yourself? You aren't one of the damned in hell. We're all of us under the Mercy."As I've often told people, you can include just about any Christian theme in a story so long as it fits organically into the context of the people you're writing about. All the same, I was staggered by how unapologetic, and yet how fitting, this theme was. In this story, the pagans were bad (though not without their own cultural beauty and grace), and the Christians were good. And the Christian myth was pitted against the pagan myth and came away triumphant, in a way that fitted very well into the story and yet at the same time was delightfully uncompromising.I was stunned.Add to this a tale that wrenches your heart, an often witty and hilarious romance (and if it's a little predictably mid-century in flavour, well, it's still very cute), and a gorgeous writing style that fleshes out the setting beautifully, and you have one of the best works of girls' YA I've ever been privileged to read. My only complaint, really, would be that the world-building for the Under the Hill segments was a little underdone in some regards. But apart from that, I loved this book, was utterly gripped, and deeply satisfied.

  • Tandie
    2019-03-24 22:49

    Wonderful! A sort of retelling of Tam Lin, without the pregnant lover part. As you very well know, TWUE WUV is a powerful weapon when dealing with fairy folk. They may not be able to speak lies, but there's almost always a trick to be played.Clever Kate has been exiled to The Perilous Gard, a remote fortress, merely for not being as charming as her sister. She meets her guardian's brother, Christopher, and forms an immediate dislike. Wary of one another, they begin a reluctant friendship - which is no surprise since they're both on the outs with their families. He's prickly, and no wonder! He had charge of his young niece the day she was lost, presumably drowned in the well. Fairies are almost businesslike in their dealings with mortals, they take what they need without regard for feelings. I found the human allies to be far more despicable. I loved the way this tale played out at the end, highly recommended.

  • Hallie
    2019-04-15 21:50

    This is one of the most often re-read books in our house - definitely the one I read to the daughters the greatest number of times. And with good reason, as it's fantastic. First there's the Tam Lin element, which is used beautifully here. Then there's some of the best dialogue ever ('You don't look like any god to me, Christopher Heron. You look like a piece of gilded gingerbread.') And Kate's a wonderful heroine - intelligent, stubborn when it's about doing what she feels she should (or not taking the easy way out) and interesting, rather than beautiful and not much more. And the Faerie (or are they? There's just a hint of doubt about who they are that sets the story off perfectly) are so subtly drawn. And finally, in Christopher, the wounded, arrogant-acting-but-suffering hero is both portrayed to great effect and constantly deflated by Kate's common-sense.

  • Marquise
    2019-03-26 21:53

    An excellent story reworking the legend of Tam Lin, that is my first read of a retelling for this story that's a Beauty and the Beast type of tale from the British Isles. I'd already read Pope's only other book and loved it, so I expected this to be good despite my doubts over the period setting (Tudor England). It didn't disappoint, but it does have less of the couple chemistry, the humour and the charm of "The Sherwood Ring" to me. I did like the impressive balance of historical realism and magical elements the author was able to pull out, and how she accounted for the existence of the "fairy folk" very plausibly. It was like seeing how Tam Lin could've really gone down sans the shapeshifting and the high fantasy elements.

  • Sherwood Smith
    2019-03-29 17:57

    This taut, emotionally compelling but unsentimental look at fae I think has influenced a great many writers working in fantasy today.

  • Melissa McShane
    2019-03-22 21:51

    I actually read this twice this year because:1) It is one of the best historical fantasies ever written;2) I didn't review it the first time, lost the immediacy, and had to read it again to do it justice;3) Because Feelings;4) It takes me like two hours to read it. Seriously. Why wouldn't I spend two hours this way?The Perilous Gard was written in a time before people really knew what Young Adult fiction should look like. This is why it's shelved in the middle grade section even though the main characters are young adults. That, and the style is simple enough that younger readers will understand it. Will they really appreciate it? I don't know. Will it guarantee more readers if it's shelved as YA instead of MG? Also don't know. I just know that I occasionally have trouble convincing adults to read it because of how it's classed. I'm really grateful for the current trend in adults reading YA fiction, but it doesn't seem to extend to MG even though there are so many great books in that category (the Sammy Keyes mysteries, the Alcatraz series, Greenglass House...I could go on, but this is a review about a book and not a referendum on the YA issue).The Perilous Gard begins with some really marvelous characterization: Kate Sutton, awkward and smart; her sister Alicia, beautiful and dimwitted; the Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth), exiled to an unpleasant royal palace by her jealous sister Queen Mary. Alicia has written a letter to the Queen protesting how Elizabeth doesn't deserve what she's done to her, how she's good and smart and wonderful, etc., etc. This naturally makes Queen Mary decide to release Elizabeth and shower her with, sorry, that would be some other universe. Queen Mary, with extraordinary logic, decides that Alicia couldn't possibly have written the letter and blames it all on Kate, sending her to live in Derbyshire with Sir Geoffrey Heron at his home called Elvenwood Hall, otherwise known as the Perilous Gard. There are rumors of mysterious fairy folk who live in the wood surrounding the Gard, but of course no one believes them.The initial setup makes the characters seem stereotypical, but Kate and Alicia really do love each other, and Kate's being awkward doesn't make her feel bad about herself. Kate is clever and sensible, and she neither believes nor disbelieves the legends; instead, she realizes that it's very likely there were people who worshiped heathen gods in the past--and why shouldn't they still be around? But everything at Elvenwood Hall seems conspiring to keep her isolated, from Sir Geoffrey's steward Master John, who's definitely hiding something, to Geoffrey's brother Christopher, who blames himself for the death of Geoffrey's young daughter Cecily. As Kate learns more, she's eventually drawn into a conspiracy that leads her into an encounter with the heathen people and their Queen that changes her life.I love Kate. I love how sensible she is and how her interactions with Christopher, even though she feels she never says the right thing, are all ones that are unflinching in her refusal to go along with his self-flagellation. Christopher, for his part, is a strange mix of sentimental and sensible. He cares very much about an abandoned manor that he would love to restore, and it's what brings them together after their initial misunderstandings. They're neither of them titled, and the simplicity of their dream is refreshing.What I love more, though, is the society of Those Under the Hill and their Queen. Pope used many elements from old pagan worship (at least, as it was understood by those who came after, not as modern pagans worship) to create a group of people who could easily be mistaken for elves, whose "magic" is a combination of herb lore and hypnotism, and even though there's no actual magic in this book, I can't help but classify it as fantasy. Add to this the story of Tam Lin, one of my favorites, and I'm hooked.The strongest theme running through this book is the question of free will. Kate, given the opportunity to ease her time under the mountain, chooses not to accept because she can't bear the thought of having her mind taken away from her. She's also willing to injure herself to keep the Queen from taking away her memories of Christopher. And, at the end, there's a truly remarkable passage, when the Queen offers Kate the means to win her heart's desire:"Take it," said the Lady. "I tell you again: it will do him no harm. Do you doubt that I am telling the truth?""No," said Kate."Do you think you can win him without it?""No," said Kate."Do you want your sister to have him?""No," said Kate...."What are you afraid of? That the Young Lord will look down and catch you at it?""I am not afraid that he will catch me," said Kate."What else then? Who is to know?""Well," said Kate, almost apologetically, "I would."The complicated relationship between Kate and the Queen, central to the story, is what gives the book depth. The Queen might as well be an elf queen, as careless and proud and cruel as she is, and even as Kate hates what she does, she can't help feeling admiration for some of what she is. The Queen, for her part, develops a similar admiration for Kate, who she feels is powerful and noble in a way most of her kind are not. Whether the Queen's assessment of humanity is true is irrelevant; what matters is that Kate's choices prompt the Queen, in the end, to give her the respect due a queen of her own kind.Great characters, a wonderful plot, and deceptively simple prose made this book a Newbery Honor winner. It remains one of my favorite books and one that I recommend to readers of all ages.

  • Maureen E
    2019-03-24 22:53

    Every so often I start hankering for a favorite book. It's almost like craving a particular food. Only that flavor will do. Recently, that hankering turned towards The Perilous Gard, one of my favorite books for, oh, years. As a bonus, it's also historical fantasy and a Tam Lin retelling, two awesome subgenres.Kate Sutton is a lady in waiting to Princess Elizabeth, along with her younger sister Alicia. Alicia is beautiful and fluffy-minded and, when she becomes outraged over the living conditions at Hatfield, sends a letter to Queen Mary. Because Alicia gets out of everything, Queen Mary blames Kate and sends her to live under the protection of Sir Geoffrey Heron at Elvenwood in Derbyshire. The house is also known, ominously, as The Perilous Gard. Kate is essentially Alicia's opposite. She is plain, graceless, sharp-minded and sharp-tongued. It's strongly implied that Alicia gets her character from her mother's side of the family and Kate from her father's, especially her grandfather. She values common sense, honesty, and plain dealing. She's a bit like Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle, though she's not normally so insecure. She's in the category of characters I would like to have as a friend.From the first glimpse of Elvenwood, Pope makes it clear that this is a strange and eerie land. One of the threads all my favorite Tam Lin retellings contain is a genuine sense of creepiness. There's something frightening about the story and here there's something frightening about the Elvenwood, about the castle and its inhabitants, and most especially, about the People of the Hill. At the same time, Kate is forced, especially in the second half of the book, into a kind of unwilling sympathy for them. She understands them, while at the same time she fights against them with all her might to save Christopher. She's half-way to being one of them by the end of the book, not simply in the way that she moves or how she has physically changed, but also in the fact that she can understand the way that they think. This layer adds a depth and complexity to the story that keeps the People from simply being villains or Other. I haven't said anything at all about Christopher yet, which is a pity. He's an exasperating, marvelous character. The romance here is based on mutual respect and neither party leaps into it at first sight. (Kate even says at one point, "How could I be in love with Christopher Heron? I've only talked to him twice in my life!") Given that I grew up on this book, The Blue Sword, Anne and Gilbert, and Betsy and Joe, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that insta-attraction romances are anathema to me. Regardless, the end is incredibly swoon-worthy and I would quote the whole thing except that it's full of spoilers and also the point is that you have to read it in order.It's also interesting to note that Kate's impulses from the beginning are to save Christopher. First she wants to save him from his loneliness and self-imposed penance. Then she wants to save him from his sacrifice. Then she wants to save him from the People. But she also exhibits the same impulse towards other characters--Cecily, Harry, even Randal. Pope was part of the Society for Creative Anachronism, which means that she knew her stuff. And it shows. The historical aspect of the novel is utterly convincing in the surplus of details which are woven naturally into the story. Kate thinks and acts as a Tudor girl, albeit a slightly unconventional one. At the same time, I think she's the strongest character in the whole book. Which just shows you that it's possible to write female characters in historical fiction without sacrificing either accuracy or strength. (I keep harping on this. It is a Thing with me.)In the end, after all of my blathering on, this is simply an wonderful book. It's one of those that are heart-books, that have gone so deep I don't really need to re-read them. But why on earth wouldn't I?-----A comfort re-read. I love this Tam Lin re-telling, which is convincingly set in Elizabethan England. Kate is such a wonderful heroine and Christopher was one of the first characters I swooned over. [Feb. 2010]

  • Chachic
    2019-03-21 19:43

    Originally posted here.I've had my copy of The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope since 2007 and I only got to read it recently. I don't know why I kept putting it off but I'm glad I finally picked it up. I've heard such good things about it and I believe I got the original recommendation for this from Sounis. I've been meaning to put up a Retro Friday post for a while and since this is an oldie but goodie, it seemed perfect for the meme.Kate is a lady's maid to Lady Elizabeth, sister to the Queen Mary. She is exiled to a remote castle called Perilous Gard when her beautiful but clueless sister, Alicia, writes a letter that doesn't sit well with the Queen. Poor Kate, it's not even her fault why she ends up in Perilous Gard. But I guess that it's a good thing because instead of being bored like she expected, she becomes tangled in the doings of the Fairy Folk in the area. I've read a couple of fairy novels this year but The Perilous Gard is different from anything else that I've read. For one thing, it's more historical fiction than fantasy unlike other novels that have fairies in them. In that sense, I felt that the portrayal of the Fairy Folk in the novel was realistic. This is also a Tam Lin retelling and that made things more interesting. It's funny because the ballad of Tam Lin is actually mentioned in the book. The Perilous Gard is a lovely story and is a classic for fans of fairy stories. I think this was the book that I was reading around Halloween and it was perfect because it's a bit dark and eerie. Be sure to pick this up if you're into fairy reads because it's a welcome break from the more modern fairies in urban fantasy novels nowadays.Kate Sutton is a heroine that I really liked - she's not as pretty as her sister Alicia but she's a lot more intelligent. She's sarcastic, witty and I enjoyed reading the banter between her and Christopher Heron, the younger brother of the owner of the castle. I know a couple of my bookish friends are fans of the romance between these two but for some reason, I didn't feel that Christopher Heron was swoon-worthy. I thought that there was more friendship than romance between these two. So that probably says something about the development of the love story - it's a slow burn kind that forms after countless conversations and the characters have gotten to know each other really well. I didn't understand why I wasn't more into it. Maybe I would have loved it more if I read the book when I was younger. My lukewarm reaction to the romance didn't prevent me from enjoying the book as a whole. Like I said, I recommend this for fans of fairy stories or retellings of Tam Lin.I was pleasantly surprised by the illustrations included in the novel. As always, I love including pictures of illustrations in my reviews so here are some of them:I'm so glad I got to publish a Retro Friday post this week! I've been trying to write this for the past couple of weeks but I haven't gotten around to it. Anyway, hope you all have a great weekend and let me know if you've read this book and what you thought of it. And if you have any other recommendations for Tam Lin retellings that I should know about.

  • Margaret
    2019-04-15 19:01

    The Perilous Gard is set in late Tudor times; the heroine, Kate Sutton, is one of the lady Elizabeth's handmaidens, exiled by Queen Mary for a letter Kate's sister wrote to her. Kate is sent to Elvenwood, also called "the Perilous Gard", where she's immediately intrigued by Christopher, the enigmatic brother of the master of the castle, Sir Geoffrey Heron. Soon, she discovers the secrets kept by the people of the castle, and to her peril, discovers also the mysterious residents of the land around the castle. Pope's period detail is impeccable and never ponderous, and her fairies (the People of the Hill) have just the right note of otherworldliness. Kate is a marvelous heroine, clever and daring, and the rest of the characters are equally engaging. Along with Pamela Dean's Tam Lin and Diana Wynne Jones's Fire and Hemlock, this is certainly one of the best "Tam Lin" retellings I've read.

  • Kami
    2019-03-30 20:51

    What could not be said about this fabulous book?!?!?! I love it!!! One of the few books (along with Jane Austen's and the Bronte's) that I read over and over. It perfectly entwines historical fiction with the lore of the fairy folk in a completely believable manner. I really like how the fairy folk were kept true to the old legends and poems of them being sinister and evil. I also loved the herione, she's great; I hate when the main character is an idiot. And the love story is fabulous. Why don't more people read this?!?

  • Valerie
    2019-03-22 01:02

    I have half a mind just to reread all my favorite books. It's way more satisfying than I thought it would be. I first read this book about 4 years ago and forgot why I loved it so much. I actually forgot a lot more than I thought I did, but it's definitely a book worth rereading.From the start we see that Kate is in trouble for something her prettier, younger sister did and so is sent off to the Perilous Gard. Once there she finds little comfort from anyone. Just the maid's occasional complaints, a word with a witless singer, and an argument or two with the moping Christopher-who has a heavy weight on his shoulders she soon finds out. But Kate is curious. What is all the talk about these Fair Folk and the Well and what does it have to do with the young lord Christopher? She got more than she bargained for but not more than she could handle I'm happy to say. This practical girl is soon in the midst of this "Fair Folk World" with whom else but Christopher. Just like one of those ballads the witless singer might know.I can't tell you how much I enjoy a strong protagonist like Kate. She is very observant, kind, and full-hardy. She knows just what to say and do, though she sometimes doubts her abilities and she is a lot smarter than she gives herself credit for. For having so little to go on she figures some things out and makes connections, gains knowledge and maybe even some grace. One more thing that I thought was just oh-so-satisfying was the relationship between Kate and Christopher. It was more of a show don’t tell kind of thing which I always love to see in books. It was clear to see the development of the relationship without the mushy lines and all that (though I do admit that I kind of like that sometimes in moderation of course). When I first read The Perilous Gard I didn't know it was a retelling of a ballad (I think it's called Tam Lin?). There isn't a lot of "magic" in the book which suits it perfectly and the fairies' culture can be a bit confusing but I'm no scholar and I got through it just fine. Actually, I got through and closed the book with a big old smile on my face.

  • Andree
    2019-04-13 18:45

    Not talking about this one right now. For secret reasons.2015 Reading Challenge - A Book with Magic

  • Stephanie
    2019-04-04 19:53

    I try to reread this every year around Halloween and it is so worth it every time.

  • Agnė
    2019-04-19 23:45

    The Perilous Gard is a captivating young adult retelling of the ballad of Tam Lin, which blurs the line between history and mythology. Love the story, the writing, the characters, the ending, the audiobook narration… A very enjoyable reading/listening experience :)

  • Brandy Painter
    2019-04-07 22:57

    The Perilous Gard is a reworking of the Scottish ballad of Tam Lin. Or it might be more accurate to say the ballad of Tam Lin is worked into this story which stands on its own merits beautifully.During 16th century England Kate Sutton is exiled to a mysterious fortress called Elvenwood Manor but historically referred to as the Perilous Gard. As soon as she arrives she is drawn into the life of another of the castle's inhabitants, Christopher Heron the younger brother of the owner. He is haunted by the disappearance and presumed death of his niece which he feels is his fault. Kate and Christopher soon discover that the young girl is not as dead or lost as presumed. When Christopher trades his own freedom and life for that of his niece, Kate also finds herself a captive and in the position of having to rescue them both.As a work of historical fiction this novel is wonderful. It accurately depicts the time and the personalities of historical figures while never once losing the magic of the story to historical reality. As a tribute to a very old and cherished folklore the book also excels. I enjoyed the ambiguity of the true nature of the Faerie Queen and her minions. Were they truly Fae or simply an ancient race who had managed to preserve their way of life by shrinking into the shadows?Kate Sutton is a heroine of tremendous strength and ability. She is practical, sarcastic and uses her intellect to see her through trials. She is not a cardboard character though. She has plenty faults to go along with her better qualities. I love the relationship between her and Christopher and how each describes their view of it at the end of the book (funny and romantic stuff there). I would recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction or retellings of old fairy tales.

  • Res
    2019-04-03 21:53

    Another Tam Lin retelling, this time involving young Kate, whose beautiful and very stupid sister insults Queen Mary Tudor and gets Kate exiled to a castle where strange doings are afoot.Very fine. Kate is just the sort of character I love -- proud, highly intelligent, a bit socially awkward. She's just distant enough from her feelings that a story in her POV is emotionally subtle, without being so distant from them that they don't come across at all. Christopher is appropriately troubled for a romantic hero, and yet not humorless -- one of my favorite things is the dynamic between them, in which he becomes very tragic and doomed, and she skewers him with a logical comment, and he can't keep himself from laughing. Also: It's a historical romance in which the man is in peril and the woman has to rescue him. Points.Something else I liked was that nearly everything in the story allowed for a non-magical explanation. But not quite everything, which added a bit of mystery. When the author writes her own snippet of ballad at the every end, it doesn't scan. Even by ballad standards the scansion is a failure. Boo.

  • Anne Stengl
    2019-03-31 22:50

    I love the ballad of TAM LIN, and Elizabeth Marie Pope's retelling of that famous poem is clever, dark, surprising, funny, elegant, mysterious, and ultimately wonderful. This was the last book to keep me up until 3:00 in the morning turning pages. I was not expecting to be so delighted, and I look forward to reading her other novel, THE SHERWOOD RING.

  • Hannah
    2019-04-06 17:57

    What can I say? Awesomeness-- pure and simple awesomeness. I know no other book that has such a genuine feel for the Tudor period and the ancient Druid culture. Kate and Christopher are attractive leading characters and Alicia very entertaining as well. If you guys haven't read this one, you really should--it's not too long, and it's really worth your time.

  • Amber Scaife
    2019-03-31 18:54

    Kate Sutton finds herself accidentally in the bad graces of Queen Mary and sent to live in a remote castle with a secret and possibly dangerous past. She meets up with superstitious villagers, a gruff but lovable Lord of the castle, his mysterious and vexed (oh, and handsome, of course) younger brother, a disturbed but friendly troubadour, and a charm of wicked fairies. Kate is smart and stubborn and a bit clumsy, but strong, too, in all sorts of ways. In short, reader, I love her. And her story.

  • Olga Godim
    2019-04-16 18:55

    4.5 starsWhat a charming story. Written in 1974, it might be a little lumbering and meandering for the modern hectic pace, but the excellent protagonist and the complexity of concept more than make up for the author’s somewhat extra-rich embroidery of descriptions. In the beginning of the story, seventeen-year old Kate is a maid of honor to the Princess Elizabeth Tudor, before Elizabeth became Queen. For a minor transgression that wasn’t even Kate’s, Queen Mary exiles her to a remote castle known as Perilous Gard. She is to be treated with reverence and afforded every luxury the castle offers but she can’t have visitors or letters and she can’t move farther than 1 mile from the castle walls. She is practically a prisoner in a gilded cage.Lonely and upset, Kate tries to make the best of her cage castle, but the servants are afraid to talk to her, the villages below the castle treat her like a plague, the lord of the castle leaves on business in another parts of England, and his steward John, left in charge of the castle and its fair occupant, seems a ruthless and shifty fellow. Kate doesn’t trust him one bit. Then there is a young man Christopher, ridden with guilt. And the fairies, who are not nice at all, residing under the Hill. And the secrets of the old gods, pagan customs, and human sacrifices. And plain human greed, intertwined with the motifs from the Tam Lin ballad.While Kate navigates though the dangerous pitfalls of the story – an historical fiction mixed with a fairy tale, a touch of romance, a dash of fantasy, and a whiff of Celtic myth – her common sense keeps her grounded. She is kindhearted without being sugary, strong-willed without being mulish, and brave without being stupid. Altogether a delightful heroine.

  • Nikki
    2019-03-22 18:08

    I'm sure someone said to me that they found it hard to read The Perilous Gard, but I didn't find it so -- I really enjoyed it, and found it quite easy to get into. I half-expected to be following Alicia from the start, but that wouldn't have been half so interesting: Katherine felt much more real, right from the start, and I'm glad the story followed her. It was also pretty interesting that it was set in a historical context, instead of being relatively lightly rooted in time: Queen Mary is on the throne, followed in the course of the story by Queen Elizabeth, and both of those characters are present in the narrative, at least at the beginning and end. It has a feeling of fantasy and reality twined together.I got to love Katherine and Christopher Heron quite quickly. The kind of relationship they have is just wonderful, to me -- the back and forth banter, the saying the wrong thing and it being alright... I don't know if I can explain exactly what I liked about it. I liked that she had these ideas about Arthurian knights and so on, and yet at the same time they kept each other on track by talking about the proper placement of a dairy, and how they'd manure the land.I liked the details of the faery land, and how strong Katherine had to be, and yet how at the same time she wasn't perfect -- she felt the horror of it, she wasn't so special that she couldn't feel it at all. The story is obviously based on/linked to the story of Tam Lin, without being a straight retelling, given that Katherine finds out what to do from listening to the ballad of Tam Lin, and given that she doesn't have to take the ballad literally. It's a semi-historical, realistic-feeling version. I definitely liked that about it.

  • Amy
    2019-04-04 20:49

    I'm not even going to bother trying to give a synopsis of this book. Very sloppy of me, I know, but its almost to complicated to give an acurate description. Kate Sutton is a handmaiden to Princess Elizabeth during the reign of Queen Mary, an indescretion on the part of her sister gets her banned to a remote castle called Perilous Gard in the middle of nowhere. I LOVE The Perilous Gard. Maybe its the setting, Tudor England. I've read and written so much about it that reading a historically acurate novel is just plain awesome. But its more than that. I love the characters and the writing style and the plot and the ending....Its a bit weird at first. Fairy-folk. Woodland lore. But Kate is a firey, practical young miss whose stuborn nature is beautiful and brilliant. Its a historical, romance intermixed with adventure, fantasy, and a great setting.

  • Stargazer R.L.
    2019-04-14 20:48

    Wow. Just wow. The Perilous Gard is an amazing story. Dark creepy mysterious fairies, a well, human sacrifice, a great heroine, a wonderful awesome dark hero, and England. If that isn't creepy and awesome I don't know what is. This book is great. It's kind of creepy but I love it. It made me think a lot of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke.