Pheasant by Julian Bhalerao
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Holly and Ivy

Holly and Ivy

Sean O'Brien

A distant father, a vodka-fuelled stepmother, a fall of snow and carol singers who are not quite all they seem. These are the far from stock ingredients that add depth and zest to Sean O'Brien's spooky winter fable.

Teenager Kate waits disconsolately for Christmas, annoying her parents by indulging in unfashionable pursuits such as thinking and reading - until events take a distinctly inexplicable turn:

"She heard the ice thickening on the ponds in the woods and the pools among the shingle on the foreshore. It was as if the world had gone away from itself. Then, from a far corner, deep in the white silence, she heard a sound."

Holly and Ivy is a contemporary and highly original take on the old-fashioned cautionary tale - to be read by the fire when the nights are long and dark, with a big mug of something warm and reassuring. 20 pages.

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Softback £4.95 £4.50

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