Deer Life by Ron Sexsmith : A Review
Rating : 3/5
Publishing Date: 10 Oct 2017
Honestly speaking what made me pick up Deer Life from the NetGalley shelves was the beautifully illustrated painting on the cover. It was really stunning with spurts of magnificent colors. On reading the blurb, I came to know that it was a fairy tale. As I had completed reading an old set of fairy tale collection (my husband’s bed time stories when he was a kid), I thought I would give this “new” fairy tale a try. Only on reading the foreword did I understand that Ron Sexsmith was a popular song writer in Canada. As I was from India, I was not familiar with his work.
Coming back to the review, the fairy tale narrates the story of a young boy named Deryn Hedlight from the village of Hinthoven who unknowingly encounters the witch Eleanoir while hunting in a forest. As a curse for killing her dog by mistaking it for a deer, the revengeful witch transforms him to a deer. His forlorn mother Maggie ventures into the forest in search of her lost son. Unable to find any trace of him, she crosses the forest into the next village and stays at The Willow Tree inn. The inn keeper Crad Grimsby, who is familiar with the ways of the witches, listens to her story and finds something awry. Attracted to Maggie, he later travels across the forest to meet her with the intention of asking her hand. Meanwhile, the witch makes her presence known at the house of Magnus Hinterlund, a wealthy landowner and widower and hoodwinks him to marry her. His daughter Claira finds something amiss with her father’s lady companion and is determined to stop the marriage. Will Claira, Deryn, Maggie and Crad succeed in driving away the witch?
Though the story is marketed as a fairy tale for adults, I found it to be a really enjoyable one and I believe that it does not have any harmful content for children. The book has an old age fairy tale charm and Sexsmith really made it possible both with the village names (Hixenbaugh and Hinthoven) and character names (Tourtiere, Merthalot…). While reading the book, I felt that I was transported to some non-descript European town with its charming inns and magical beauty. As the theme is the good old fight against evil sprinkled with some romance and vengeance, there was nothing new in the plot. The writing was simple and humorous and there was no deviation anywhere from the main theme of the story. It made for a good, easy and enjoyable read.
I had a few problems with the illustrations on the pages. I believe that my kindle copy was not illustration friendly as most of the drawings were split across pages. The drawings were very basic and paled in comparison with the cover page illustration. The book would not have lost any charm even with the absence of the illustrations. Also, I felt the title of the book was quite unimaginative for a fairy tale. After going to great lengths to recreate the magic of fairytales of the past, the title too could have been something magical and enigmatic such that it could just make a person pick up the book off the rack.
Overall, an entertaining light read for kids and adults alike who want to bask in the nostalgia of a good old fairy tale. I would recommend this book to everybody as it can be used as a refreshment between emotional and heavyweight story telling.
About the Author
Ron Sexsmith is an internationally acclaimed, Juno Award–winning recording artist. He spends most of his time writing songs, touring, and making records. Deer Life was mostly written on the road, during long drives and in dressing rooms and hotel rooms. Ron lives in Perth County, Ontario.
I received a free copy of the book from NetGalley in exchange for honest review and this his not influenced my opinions.