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Have you ever felt so intensely excited about a book that you couldn't actually bring yourself to read it? I know it sounds dumb (or maybe even crazy!), but that's how I've felt for the past couple of days, ever since a jaw-droppingly beautiful hardcover copy of Franny Billingsley's Chime arrived at our house (courtesy of the lovely Luisa Plaja). The thing is, Chime isn't just an intriguing-looking book - it's the new Franny Billingsley book, and I have been waiting for SO MANY YEARS for a new Franny Billingsley book!

I found Franny Billingsley's The Folk Keeper on a shelf in my local Borders, back in Leeds, almost ten years ago. It was just a small, slim paperback with a quiet cover that somehow managed to catch my eye. I picked it up, opened it to the beginning...and was totally enthralled. I read half of it sitting right there on the floor in Borders, then bought it and took it home even though we were so broke at the time, I wasn't supposed to be buying any books at ALL. Patrick read it right after me, and loved it too. Then I re-read it again.

It wasn't just a great book. It was a book that blew my mind. It was historical fantasy, so obviously, yes, I was the ideal target audience, but more than that - it was rich and strange and lovely and so utterly different from anything I'd read before. I raced to the internet to find out when her next book was coming out...and came up with nothing.

And nothing. And nothing. For years! It was so long that I gave up and stopped looking or even wondering. I thought of it as a perfect book with no follow-up, kind of like To Kill a Mockingbird.

Then Chime came out, to amazing reviews. Luisa sent me my own copy. The opening is AMAZING - the voice is so strong and insistent, from the very first lines:

"I've confessed to everything, and I'd like to be hanged. Now, if you please."

I read those first two lines...and then I slammed the book shut and I hid from it for two days! I was actually too excited to read any further yet. I knew once I really, properly started reading, I was going to sink right into the book and not come out again.

This afternoon I was sitting on a bench in town, waiting for Patrick to come in the car and pick me up. I reached into my shoulder bag...and I found Chime. Nervously, I picked it up. I opened it...

...And I sank inside.

Guess what? I'm partway through and it's blowing my mind all over again, just like The Folk-Keeper did all those years ago. I am in awe of Franny Billingsley. And I love, love, love this boook.

What have you guys read and loved recently?



Apr. 15th, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC)
I've definitely done the "so excited I'm scared to read it" book thing, so you're note alone!

The preview of CHIME that I read was great and it sounds like you're loving it, so I'm moving up my TBR list.
Apr. 15th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
It is SO good. Normally I'd wait to finish a book before unreservedly recommending it, but I'm loving it SO MUCH already that I'll just say: read it!!! :)

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