Fire and Hemlock

by Diana Wynne JOnes | Children's Books |
ISBN: 0416040225 Global Overview for this book
Registered by PDB11 of Oakhill, Somerset United Kingdom on 10/20/2003
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
5 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by PDB11 from Oakhill, Somerset United Kingdom on Monday, October 20, 2003
I bought this second copy to give away. My copy is here.

I'm sending it to Tangledthreads because she likes fairytale re-tellings.

Journal Entry 2 by tangledthreads from Derby, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Monday, October 20, 2003
Received with thanks, in trade for a John Wyndham. I've heard good things about this book previously, so I will look forward to it working its way up my TBR pile!

Updated April 21st: Offered on book relay site ( and was snapped up by redjanet - will be next on TBR list...

Journal Entry 3 by tangledthreads from Derby, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Monday, April 26, 2004
When I started reading this book I wasn't too hopeful for the outcome. The tone of the narrative seemed to fit the teen market it's aimed at, although later I decided that possibly it's just that the voice seems slightly dated having been written 20 years ago.

I kept going, and I'm glad that I did, as I soon got caught up in the story and read it quickly. It is the story of Polly, whose parents divorce when she is 10, and the friendship she strikes up with a man named Thomas Lynn. Together Polly and Tom play make believe, but soon find out the things that they pretend seem to be coming true...

Years later, Polly finds that she has misremembered a whole chunk of her teenage years, and her friends and family seem determined to convince her that Tom never existed. Was he just an imaginary friend she invented to get her through the years of her upset at home? But what about the books he had sent her, and the real experiences they had shared?

The stories of Tam Lin and Thomas the Rhymer are not ones I am very familiar with, although I have come across them a couple of times before in passing, in other fairy tale adaptations ('Beauty' by Sheri S. Tepper, and 'Snow White and Rose Red' by Patricia C. Wrede). Pre-knowledge isn't essential, though, as Wynne Jones fills in the gaps quite subtly.

I was slightly disturbed by the nature of Tom's attentions towards Polly which appeared innocent enough but were cast in a new light as the story ended. I also felt that the school scenes were mostly put in to appeal to the teenage market rather than to further the story, and detracted slightly from what was otherwise a strong story, for any age.

On the whole, I was pleasantly surprised by this book, and thought it was a very original adaptation of the traditional tales it was based on. Will be passing on to redjanet at the end of this week.

Journal Entry 4 by tangledthreads from Derby, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, May 05, 2004
On way to redjanet by 2nd class post - sorry for slight delay...

Journal Entry 5 by redjanet from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, May 08, 2004
Received this in the post today. Thanks, tangledthreads!

Journal Entry 6 by redjanet from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Sunday, January 16, 2005
I found out after reading this book that it was a modern re-telling of the Tam Lin and Thomas the Rhymer fairy-tales, of which I was not familiar with at all. I don't know if the above can be blamed for me finding this book quite a bit confusing, but part of me thinks that that I would have found the book confusing anyway.

The book is about a young girl, Polly, who, at the age of 18, is remembering events in her life that started when she was 9 but until now she had forgotten. She meets a man named Tom who she engages in the making up of heroic stories, which start coming true. The stories themselves are fun enough and I think the suggestion of Polly's home-life perhaps influencing her fantasy-life are interesting (though not expanded on enough). However, I think a lot of the events in the book are a bit too vague and unclear and it only becomes (slightly) more apparent near the end of the book what is actually going on, which I found kind of frustrating. It felt like most of the book had to be taken with a grain of salt and just accepted as a fairy-tale, which is fair enough I guess if you're familiary with the original, but as a book on its own it felt like there was a lot missing.

I will be sending this book next to ChinaSourcer as part of a relay.

Journal Entry 7 by redjanet at on Monday, January 24, 2005

Released 14 yrs ago (1/24/2005 UTC) at



I posted this book today to ChinaSourcer as part of a relay.

Journal Entry 8 by ChinaSourcer from Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom on Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Received in the post today, many thanks.


Taking to the UnConvention as a RABCK for Pennywhistler as she has this on her wish list.

Journal Entry 10 by STP-921375 on Monday, July 03, 2006
Thanks very much for this. I have wanted to read it for ages. My vow not to bring any books home from the Unconvention was ruined by ChinaSourcer chucking piles of books at me!

Donating to charity shop as my to be read pile has got out of hand!

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