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Here are some quotes by real people about 'Dart' and why you might enjoy reading it:
'"Dart" will whirl you away to a time and place distant yet familiar'
'Taking us back to rural Devon of the 1340s, Dart follows young Tobias, his family and fellow villagers as a mysterious danger sweeps across the county.
The villagers must fight their fears of this unknown enemy 'the fog' and Tobias must find the courage to tell the wholesome Beatrice how he feels about her, before it's too late, all the while struggling to keep his family safe from this merciless plague.
This charming tale is laced with mystery and adventure and the wonderful descriptions of the landscape make you long to visit the Devon of simpler times.'
'I am very glad to find this book on Goodreads. I read it earlier this year of 2013 and really enjoyed it. It is worth buying this book for the front cover illustration and the map of Dartmoor by Dru Marland alone.
One of the main reasons why I liked this book is because Deborah Harvey is a poet and it shows in her prose. The way her characters are bound to the landscape and the weather of Dartmoor, through the seasons, reminded me of the way the characters in "The Return Of The Native" by Thomas Hardy are bound to the landscape and weather of Egdon Heath. Thomas Hardy, of course, was also a poet and that was revealed in his prose.
"Dart" is set in the Middle Ages, on Dartmoor. All the characters in the book are at the mercy of the Black Death and all their lives are blighted by it, but they manage to laugh still and love and talk about ordinary things. The most moving and powerful part of the book for me was the meeting of Tobias and Isabella, a strange, exotic woman, who some consider a witch, but whom Tobias politely calls a wisewoman.
As well as recommending her book, "Dart", to everyone who likes a tale finely, poetically told, I recommend Deborah Harvey's blog, called The Red Dress of Poetry, in which she will take you on a walk across Dartmoor, complete with some fine photographs and prose.'
'I read "Dart" in a day, and was troubled by it, in the way that books trouble me that stay with me for life. That is not a criticism! I need to reread it and I'll keep you informed! I love most of the characters, and could not stop reading. So it troubled me in the way that very old tales and myths have always troubled me.'
'I was looking forward to reading this book as soon as I learned of its existence, and I was no disappointed when I finally got it in my hands last week.
I had really enjoyed "Year of Wonders" by Geralding Brooks, which is a historical novel about one of Britain's later encounters with the plague. Dart is set in the time of Britain's first encounter with it, long before Shakespeare's time, when Middle English and Cornish would have been spoken in the area of Dartmoor. In writing about life in such an early time, an authot must make a lot of choices about how much accuracy can be traded for accessibility. The overall impression is not unlike a Tolkien talek and the fine map drawn by Dru Marland enhances that impression.
The target audience may have been teenagers, but it works for all ages. All elements of a great story are present: young love, sibling rivalry, mystery, death, travel and adventure. The beautiful landscape, along with the spectre of a disease that would end up wiping out half the population are characters always in the background.
The main part of the narrative is framed as a story told by the ageing hero to his children years later. He has become a master storyteller and the tale begins and is punctuated with verse recitation that reminiscent of the story-poems of the era.
A Wise Woman or Witch who has travelled to far distant lands is a major character, and I wish I could read more of her story.
There are graphic descriptions of the effects of plague, and some scenes are gritty to say the least, but the overall feel of the story is stately and engrossing. I am not a fast reader, but I found it hard to put this book down.'
James L Giddings
Greenville, Hew Hampshire