(Unofficially) Peter S. Beagle


by Peter S. Beagle
cover illustration by Paul Youll
Published by Roc

Tamsin is a fine fantasy novel, a gift to us fans who have waited so patiently for years to hear something new from Mr. Beagle (especially after the minor letdown of The Unicorn Sonata).

Herein we meet Jenny Gluckstein, a precocious 13-year-old New York City girl whose mother up and marries some British guy. Suddenly, Jenny is relocated to a 17th century crumbling farmhouse in the English countryside and part of a new family entirely against her will. She wants none of it, and who can blame her? Also, her cat has been put into a 6 month quarrantine as per British regulations, so she's really not a happy camper.

Oh, and suddenly her house is haunted, and she's seeing a ghost cat, and everything's getting weirder and weirder even as she reconciles herself to life on the farm in this strange new country and to her new stepbrothers and stepfather and starts to have something resembling a home life.

The first few chapters of Tamsin are a little slow, especially since Jenny is so whiny and spoiled, but you can see her point - no one likes to be uprooted without any say in the matter. My friend Fiid says that the description of being forcibly moved from the US to the UK by your parents was "spot-on", especially the part about the pet quarrantine.

But once Jenny settles down, the book hits its stride and becomes an enjoyable and engaging ghost / mystery novel, a great showcase for Peter Beagle's unique writing style.

Tamsin had several working titles, including "Friends in the Night" and "Tamsin, Miss Sophia Brown, Mister Cat and Me".


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