||Jan 12, 2012
Willow the Vampire & the Sacred Grove is set in the fictional village of Stinkforth-upon-Avon, where mysterious goings-on surrounding one spirited eleven-year-old vampire and her family are beginning to alert the human locals.
Unlike other vampire children Willow was born in the usual – outrageously human – way.
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Willow the Vampire
Eleven-year-old Willow Band lives with her parents in a remote cottage at the edge of the picturesque village Stinkforth-upon-Avon. The villagers have no idea there’s a family of vampires in their midst. Insurance salesmen, bankers and visiting vicars beware…or you’ll end up on the Band’s dinner table!
Willow loves poetry, ballet and animals…but she doesn’t like eating leathery postman, wrinkly non-organic dancers or her friendly neighbour Mr. Edwards, who has long been on her mother‘s list of Sunday lunch ingredients.
Having fled London for the safety of the Stinkforthshire countryside, Willow and her parents try to blend into the rural community of humans without arousing their suspicions…despite the mysterious disappearances of staff from the local research facility causing a bit of a stink…
Willow is an unusual vampire: she was born eleven years ago in a disgustingly human way that baffled even the wise old heads of the Vampire Council – how was this be possible, when age-old vampire tradition demands blood sacrifice at full moon for baby-vampires to enter the world?
She finds herself at odds with both her human and her vampire world. Why exactly did her Great Uncle call her a Child of Light? What will her very human friend Darren say, when he finds out she’s a blood-sucking fiend?
Just when Willow starts to settle into her new life at Stinkforth’s School for the Gifted, she discovers her mother has a dangerous secret that puts the whole family at risk, plunging Willow and her friends into a dark mystery that may well spell the end of the world as we know it.
As she battles with villainous relatives, greedy headmasters, vicious bat-monsters, disgruntled ex-prison warders, miffed pagan gods, not to mention her arch rival Felicity Henderson, who’d stop at nothing to beat Willow in this year’s poetry competition, Willow discovers there’s more to her than just fangs and an eye for a good sonnet.
Author Maria Thermann hopes you will enjoy her children's book set in the fictional county of Stinkforthshire, England – an entirely slayer-free zone. The adventures of Willow the Vampire and the Sacred Grove are aimed at children aged 8 – 12…and anyone who enjoys vampire stories!
Maria Thermann’s first children’s book Willow the Vampire and the Sacred Grove is now available in paperback format at www.amazon.com (ISBN-13: 978-1468114683) and at Kindle:
“Being a vampire really sucks,” Willow grumbled and bit into the postman without much enthusiasm. Mr Lightfoot’s neck was rather sunburned and leathery.
“What will happen to our post? If the Royal Mail’s replacement can’t find our house, I’ll never discover who won the children’s poetry competition! This year I stand a really good chance of being in the top three!” Willow complained to her mother Alice. It was most inconsiderate dishing up Mr Lightfoot just when he was needed.
“Poetry? By all that is sinister and evil, please tell me you’re not writing poetry? I blame you for this!” Alice shot an accusing glance at her husband Dylan, who ducked behind his newspaper.
“Darling, being married to a gifted musician has its occasional drawbacks. I warned you this might happen when we got engaged. By the way, who won last year’s competition, my princess?” He peered over the edge of his newspaper and stretched out his hand to run his fingers through his daughter’s soft brown hair.
“Felicity Henderson, who else? The school geek is bound to walk away with this year’s first prize, too. She wins everything in sight, thanks to her dad being best friends with the headmaster.” Willow helped herself to a slice of cured meat, which her mother held out to her on a silver platter. “Hmmm, smells great, Mum.”
“Go on, take another slice. I used sandalwood, cinnamon and cloves. It’s a new recipe. Left him in the smokehouse for 72 hours. The vicar’s absolutely delicious, don’t you think?” Alice heaped more cured vicar and lettuce onto her daughter’s plate.
Willow contemplated the remains of Mr Wilberforce, late vicar of the parish Stinkforth-upon-Avon, with a frown. Being a vampire really sucked sometimes.
Just when one had established friendly relations with new neighbours without wishing to get too familiar with them, they’d turn up unexpectedly for dinner…The vicar, who’d cycled past their house on his way to church every week, had been foolish enough to approach Willow’s dad in the lane and ask him to Sunday service. The Bands, while not averse to communicating with their immediate neighbourhood, had no desire to participate in village activities and valued their privacy above all else. Willow sighed. Vicar Wilberforce really should have known better than to ask a vampire to help out at the village fete! No wonder her dad’s temper and Vicar Wilberforce’s neck had snapped.
She had liked the young man though, despite his clumsy attempts to lure her into his Sunday school. Willow forgave him for this tasteless joke, however, when it turned out, he’d only wished to introduce her to a local reading group giving out free children’s books. Now she’d have to use Stinkforth village library again! She shuddered at the thought. The assistant librarian always tried to fondle her cheek or pull her pigtails when she handed him her books and library card.
Willow sighed and helped herself to another slice from the silver platter. She might as well show reverence where it was due and Cured Wilberforce with Lettuce was turning out to be quite a dish.
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Reader Reviews for "Willow the Vampire and the Sacred Grove"
|Reviewed by Michelle Barber
|6 Great Reasons to Read Willow the Vampire and The Sacred Grove
After years of studying Literature and Creative Writing, I have devised my own way of writing book reviews. I like to deconstruct the mechanics of the book to see what it really consists of. I particularly like to do this with children’s books because sometimes, thankfully not a lot, writers think that they can just write any old thing simply because it is for children. This is not the case with Willow the Vampire and The Sacred Grove. As the title suggests, here are 6 great reasons why it should be read.
Reason 1 – Plot.
Willow Band is an eleven year old girl who loves animals, goes to ballet lessons and writes poetry. We might be fooled that this is just an ordinary girl but Willow is a vampire – worse still, a vampire with a difference. She was not born in the ordinary vampire way but in a normal human way. Even more bizarrely, Willow can go out in the daylight. As if that is not enough of a mystery, we find out that the Band family had to move quickly from London to the rural village of Stinkforth and Alice, Willow’s mother has disappeared for days at a time, on occasion. As old documents are found, it becomes obvious that there is a deep secret attached to Willow’s birth and Alice’s past disappearance. When vampire men turn up in the village of Stinkforth things turn nasty and we find out that Alice and Willow have something which a ruthless, dastardly Count wants. With everything to lose, Willow must use both her brains and vampire strength to save her world as she knows it.
Reason 2 – Characters.
The characters in Willow and The Sacred Grove are served up to us as wickedly as the Band household serve up the local vicar or a banker. They are truly delicious whether you are 10 or 100. Eleven year old Willow is a vampire with a kind heart. She befriends Eddie, an elderly convict who has finally been released from prison. He killed his wife, baked her in pies and then sold them to the local hostelry. The main characters appear to be a bunch of grotesques but this is the clever part, we actually start to sympathise with them. Although we cannot ever condone, for instance what Eddie did, we find out that his wife was a harridan who slaughtered his favourite pet chicken and made his life totally miserable. The relationship which develops between Willow and Eddie is poignant. We witness how two people, who have been thrown into the margins of society, produce their own small society of grandfather and granddaughter.
Reason 3 – Setting.
The setting in Willow the Vampire and The Sacred Grove is as important as the plot and the characters. We are in a world of vampires and therefore the time seems as fluid as the blood which is drank in goblets. In other words we have Dylan Band, Willow’s father who is four hundred years old, we have the rural village of Stinkforth which conjures up a world of 1950s England and then we have the mobile telephones of the here and now. This is setting used craftily as it echoes the theme of identity which is paramount to the book. As modern readers we can take the setting and forge its identity to our own place of escapism. We are Willow as we ride along the country lanes with our pigtails flying behind us.
Reason 4 – Theme.
One of the great themes in Literature is that of identity. This is the main theme in Willow the Vampire and The Sacred Grove. As mentioned earlier, Willow does not know why she was born normally instead of in the vampire way. The question of identity works particularly well here as Willow is eleven. It is the age when we start to realise that we are completely separate from our parents. In this case, Willow’s identity is dynamic but I am not one for spoilers so you have to read the book to find out about her birth.
Reason 5 – Comedy.
Willow the Vampire and The Sacred Grove is full of wicked comedy. We can all envisage poor Mr Wilberforce, the village vicar asking Dylan, Willow’s father to attend the Sunday Service and ending up served with “sandalwood, cinnamon and cloves.” When Willow bites the neck of the security guard from the cosmetics testing factory and transports him home in a wheelbarrow for tea, we can see her trundling up the leafy lane in her wellington boots. It is delicious, wicked comedy which is pure escapism to thrill to as we keep all of societies rules.
Reason 6 – Its Educational Teaser.
Willow the Vampire and The Sacred Grove delves into Norse Mythology. We follow a mystical trail which involves runes, old documents, the sacred spear Gungnir and of course, the gods Odin and Freya. Apart from this enhancing the plot, it is also a wonderful introduction to mythology for children. My son, who is now fourteen, started off with mythology and went onto being fascinated with history. So as well as Willow the Vampire and The Sacred Grove being an exciting and funny tale, it is also has a sly educational element in it.