A Strange Beauty

Kate Farrell has written a new manuscript for this series of fabulist stories about modern young women! This tale draws from Greek mythology in its magical motifs that appear throughout the action. With a nod to Woman Wonder Tales, one of its characters arrives on the scene to help with the main character’s rescue.

YA Fabulist Novella (ages 15 – 25)

Sylvie Dawson has a dangerous secret, an abusive boyfriend who is stalking her. Forced to hide in her godmother’s country home for the summer, she struggles with isolation and creeping terror to discover her own strengths. Set among a coastal redwood forest and drawing from elements of ancient myth, Farrell weaves a fabulist tale that is all too real.

An excerpt from the beginning:

A Strange Beauty
Chapter One

In the chill of pre-dawn, dense fog and an ocean wind spiraled down the city’s highest hill as Sylvie fought against it to open the truck’s dented passenger door. She threw herself inside and slammed the door, pushing down its old-fashioned lock.

A throaty laugh split the tension. “Seems you’re headed for the country with me for awhile, Sylvie.” Tess looked sideways at Sylvie who pulled a baseball cap down over a pair of large sunglasses. “Ready?”

Sylvie managed a nod as Tess maneuvered her pickup down the narrow streets of her hilly San Francisco neighborhood. They crossed Golden Gate Bridge in such a thick blanket of early morning fog that the oncoming traffic was a blur of headlights.

“What soup!” Tess said. “Well, Sonoma County can be downright hot—you’ll see.”

In silence, they rode along in the rattletrap truck through Marin County as the fog cleared. They passed grassy hillsides dotted with oak trees and meadows filled with lazy herds of dairy cows. As they turned off the main highway, Sylvie saw farmland with wooden fences and sloping barns ruined with age, forested hills jagged with treetops.

Tess drove north through Sebastopol and then west towards Bodega and the coast. She turned onto an unmarked gravel road that soon became a narrow dirt lane and descended into a thick redwood forest.

06-4-cedar-carrSylvie took off her baseball cap and watched her godmother as she left the truck, unlocked the padlock on a heavy chain and swung the gate open. Tess, in jeans and a worn gray sweater, was still the short, chunky woman Sylvie had always known. She seemed at home in the country, like a sturdy, earthy pioneer. Tess drove through, jumped out, and locked the gate behind them.

Sylvie looked through the rear window with trepidation when she saw Tess loop the chain through the slats. Her panic of the day before returned and she felt the dread of confinement. What kind of summer was this going to be, isolated with Aunt Tess in the middle of nowhere? Sure, Tess can keep out all the cars, but who’s to stop Eric from walking down the driveway and climbing over the gate? Anyone could just walk through the woods from the Bodega highway to the cabin.

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daphne1Sylvie fears Eric’s stalking and she soon confronts a life threatening attack in the forest. It is within the theme of the fabulist genre that a segue into a well known Greek myth saves her: the myth of Daphne and Apollo.