The Willow Tree's Daughter by Pamela Freeman
It is a very sad fact that this book is so overlooked, as it is a rare gem that everybody should try to get hold of, filled with amazing characters, strange creatures and stereotypes that get twisted on their heads!
The most unique thing about this book however is that it does not as such have a clear plot structure, but rather each chapter relates an encounter or experience with its heroine Princess Betony. In fact, the story actually starts years before her birth when the Crown Prince Max, searching for an adventure comes across the dryad Salixia and falls in love with her. Their love story reminded me a bit of 'Aragorn-and-Arwen' or 'Romeo-and-Juliet' for children, as they too are star-crossed lovers: Max is trapped within the confines of his royal duties, just as Salixia is confined to the life of her willow tree and the rules of 'Wild Magic' that condones love between a mortal and ... Read More
Pamela Freeman(1960- )
Pamela Freeman is an award-winning author of young adult and children’s books and a freelance writer of non-fiction. She completed a Doctorate of Creative Arts at the University of Technology, Sydney where she was also a part-time lecturer in Business Communication and Creative Writing. She lives in Sydney with her husband and their son. Learn more at Pamela Freeman’s website.
Floramonde — (1996-1998) Ages 9-12. From Author’s Website: When Betony was a baby, the court wizard made a prophecy: she will be friends with strange creatures; she will face danger many times; she will find love in unexpected places; and she will become a great queen. Betony is brought up to be a proper princess, but she hates all the fuss about dancing, embroidery and the right way to talk to a viscount. She’d rather work in the garden or explore the world outside the palace. So she runs away, and through her adventures she discovers that it takes courage and the help of good friends — including a certain gardener’s boy — to find her true path in life.
The Willow Tree's Daughter by Pamela Freeman
Windrider by Pamela Freeman
Windrider is the second in the three Floramonde books, though unlike other books in series, they all can be read on their own or out of order, and indeed when it came to the first book The Willow Tree's Daughter, the chapters themselves could be read out of sequence thanks to the format which made the book appear more like a collection of short stories rather than a complete novel.
That trend in format does not continue into Windrider, as it must be read from cover to cover, but although I enjoyed the freedom of picking and choosing chapters in The Willow Tree's Daughter, the style and grace with which Pamela Freeman creates her magical world is so whimsical that it doesn't matter here. In The Willow Tree's Daughter, Read More
The Centre of Magic by Pamela Freeman
The Centre of Magic is the final in the three Floramonde books, beginning with The Willow Tree's Daughter which told of the love between King Max of Floramonde and Salixia, the dryad of the willow tree, their child Princess Betony and her romance with the gardener's boy Basil. In Windrider we learnt of the chance Betony was offered by the dragon Windrider to "put down roots" and become a dryad herself, and her friend's and family's efforts to bring her back into their world. Finally, in The Centre of Magic we are introduced to the wizard Colchis, who has been expelled from the Wizard's Guild in the next kingdom from Floramonde, and his search for power and revenge. Knowing that Floramonde is filled with Wild Magic rather ... Read More
Castings — (2008-2011) Publisher: A thousand years ago, the Eleven Domains were invaded and the original inhabitants forced on the road as Travellers, belonging nowhere, welcomed by no-one. Now the Domains are governed with an iron fist by the Warlords, but there are wilder elements to the landscape which cannot be controlled and which may prove their undoing. Some are spirits of place, of water and air and fire and earth. Some are greater than these. And some are human. Bramble: a village girl, whom no-one living can tame … forced to flee from her home for a crime she did not commit. Ash: apprentice to a safeguarder, forced to kill for an employer he cannot escape. Saker: an enchanter, who will not rest until the land is returned to his people. As their three stories unfold, along with the stories of those whose lives they touch, it becomes clear that they are bound together in ways that not even a stonecaster could foresee — bound by their past, their future, and their blood.
Blood Ties by Pamela Freeman
The first installment of Pamela Freeman's Castings trilogy may seem at first like a typical fantasy novel, with swords as everyone's weapon of choice, horses as everyone's mode of transportation, and copious amounts of ale and stew making up everyone's diet. But it doesn't take long before Blood Ties reveals itself to be quite different from the usual swords-and-sorcery realm: in its setting and atmosphere, in its plot and story-structure, and in its myriad of themes and ideas.
For starters, there is no supernatural evil "Dark Lord" out to destroy the world — just a number of squabbling and greedy warlords who have divided the land into a number of Domains, having invaded and conquered the original inhabitants. Now known as "Travellers," due to their wandering lifestyles, these dark-haired people are harassed... Read More
Deep Water by Pamela Freeman
Deep Water is the second book in Pamela Freeman's The Castings trilogy and though it suffers just a tad from middle book syndrome, this is a great continuation from the last book Blood Ties, enriching the world and developing the characters, as well as setting things up nicely for the final installment.
The Eleven Domains were conquered thousands of years ago by Acton's people, who marched across the northern mountains and massacred the dark-haired people (now called "Travelers" due to their nomadic lifestyle) already settled there. The memory of this injustice is still remembered by the Travelers to this day, and has lead one powerful enchanter to call up the ghosts of those killed in the attacks in order to reap vengeance on the ... Read More
Full Circle by Pamela Freeman
The third book in Pamela Freeman's Castings trilogy is called Full Circle for a reason, as this is the final installment that reunites the characters, wraps up all the plotlines, and resolves the crisis that has been (literally) haunting the sub-created world of the Eleven Domains. It is a satisfying finish, which takes Freeman's unique premise, ties all loose ends together and manages to be both rewarding and bittersweet.
A thousand years ago, the war-lord Acton and his people invaded the south-lands and established the fiefdoms ruled by various warlords. The system does not treat the original inhabitants of the land particularly well, and the Travelers (as they are now called) are constantly threatened by the dominant race that took over their homeland. Stories of the communities that were massacred are remembered throu... Read More
Victor’s Quest — (2009) Ages 9-12. These take place in Floramonde’s world. Previously published in Australia. Publisher: This is a light-hearted, humorous fantasy for newly independent readers. The queen sends her son Prince Victor (who is not very smart) and his horse Quince (who is) on a quest to find a beautiful princess for Victor to marry. Bravely they venture into the Dark Forest of Nevermore, populated by Very Large and Ferocious Orange Bats, a flock of Eagles and a witch casting sinister spells. But though Victor sails through his many trials and tribulations with flying colours, the girl he meets is not a princess at all! ‘But she will be after she marries me,’ says Victor, sending his mother into a flap!
Victor’s Challenge by Pamela Freeman
Twelve years after Victor’s Quest was released, it’s being republished, along with its new sequel Victor’s Challenge. Both are spin-offs of the Floramunde trilogy, though aimed at a much younger audience — specifically those who have begun independent reading. The Victor books are geared toward six to eight year olds, though of course there’s nothing to stop anyone from reading them. Older readers should be warned though that they are very slender volumes: you’d probably finish each in about fifteen minutes.
After Victor successfully won the affection of the lovely Valerian and casually brushed aside his mother’s protests: (“She’s not a princess!” “She will be after she marries me,”) the happy couple now faces a slightl... Read More
Victor's Quest by Pamela Freeman
n the third and final book of the Floramunde trilogy, we were briefly introduced to a character called Victor (who sadly failed in the attempt to win Princess Betony’s hand due to his unfortunate stupidity). But Victor wasn’t a total pushover. He may not be very clever, but he’s brave and kind, and has a very intelligent horse that makes up for his own lack of sense. And he’s still single, something that his mother wants him to rectify immediately.
He’s sent off on a quest to find and marry a princess, armed with a range of herbal remedies from Marigold the gardener, and some sound advice: “Remember the old rules: be kind, be polite to everyone you meet, and be pure of heart.” Along with his horse Quince, he heads into the Dark Forest of Nevermore (Betony made a similar journey in Windrider) and comes across the usual suspects: animals that need t... Read More
Australian author Pamela Freeman has written for both adults and children. She is best known in children’s literature for her Floramonde trilogy and its award-winning spin-offs Victor’s Quest and Victor’s Challenge. Her books for adults include The Castings Trilogy and the upcoming Ash and Ember which will be released on April 26 in the US. (Read my reviews.) Leave a comment below for a chance to win a book from our stacks.
Rebecca: I’ve heard it said by some authors that readers mistakenly think that it’s easier to write for children than it is for adults. Do you think that’s true?
Pamela Freeman: The only way that writing for children is easier is that the books are shorter. But even that doesn’t mean much. Read More