Between the Forest and the Hills
This novel is set in Iscium, a little town in Britain, at the time when the Romans are withdrawing their troops. The inhabitants think that threat of invading Saxons is distant, until a young boy runs away and finds a Saxon girl lost in the woods. Soon the people of Iscium discover that the girl, Ulna, is the daughter of a newly-arrived Saxon chieftain who lives just on the other side of the forest. The novel follows their attempts to make peace with their new neighbors.
It’s a charming story, with a cast of endearingly quirky characters. The fantasy element is small, confined to an unusual merchant, and–possibly–two rather intelligent ravens. What really sets it apart are the book’s reflections on the extraordinariness of the everyday, and the matter-of-factness of miracles. It’s a deep pleasure to read.
Morally, the story is quite wholesome, and has a number of interesting observations about faith and miracles. Almost all the characters are Christians, and their faith is portrayed quite positively.