It’s not often that I spotlight an author after reading just one book from their body of work. I was impressed enough with Hudson Talbots’s book O’Sullivan Stew to do just that.

When the King takes the local witch’s horse in leui of taxes, Kate O’Sullivan tries to raise the villagers to help. But they tell her “the witch isn’t one of us,” and ignore the pleas. You should never anger a witch and this one is no different. She stops the nets from catching fish, the gardens die and the cows’ milk dries up. Kate talks her brothers and father into stealing the witch’s horse back, but they aren’t very good thieves and get caught.

In the style of wiley women like Scheherazade, Kate tells the King stories of how she, her brothers and her father have all been in worse situations than facing hanging for horse thievery. 

I really liked all of the stories, Kate is taken by the Wee Folk on Mid Summers Eve and just manages to escape, Kelly is attacked by a horde of demonic cats, Fergus escapes the jaws of a sea monster with the help of a selkie (Irish shape-shifting seals, kind of like mermaids), and her father, Seamus fought a giant to rescue a baby! The king says her imagination would surely be enough to save her, but he must punish someone….until his mother steps in to verify that at least one of the stories Kate told is true. I’m not going to tell you which one is true, but I will say they get to take the horse home to the witch and the village agrees that she’s part of the ‘family’.

I’m looking forward to reading more of Talbots’s books. I was surprised to find he wrote the book We’re Back which was made into a movie, as well as a few sequels to it.

I don’t think I own these books, but I’d be interested in getting them. I am also hoping to find copies of his King Arthur stories and this fairytale:

He also has some funnier looking books I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on:

Did you notice that he’s the illustrator on most of these? His style is really varied, I feel like that’s true talent! Look st the Lady of the Lake!

Every single book on this list looks amazing, and I didn’t even show them all! The Arthur series has quite a few titles alone. More for the old wishlist, I guess!

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