Cur grows up in a bafflingly labyrinthine house, ignored by the staff, neglected by his family, and confronted daily with the odd and the impossible. Only the three house guests seem to have time for him. But are the chain-smoking historian, the wheelchair-bound old lady, and her maddeningly elusive companion other than what they seem? And as Cur tries to test the limits of the house, will the death of his grandfather hold the key to his final liberation?
Like a box of artisan chocolates, The Tail, the Tree and the Star is a book to be savoured. Some of its contents you’ll find fruit-filled and sweet, some darkly bitter, some surprisingly salty. Open by candlelight, in a comfortably upholstered armchair, beside a crackling fire. No picture guide has been included.
In awe of this book.
Readers are invited into the House where imagination knows no bounds.
Ashford’s storytelling prowess is fantastic as he crafts a narrative that leaves you trying to work the puzzles out on every page. It’s easily one of the best books I’ve read this year.
The story is a fusion, blending fantasy, magic, love and mystery. It keeps the reader wanting to know more. The imagination in this book is great, the unexpected becomes the norm and the mundane transforms into the extraordinary as nothing is the same twice.
This book is plot-driven, but the author’s knack for character development is outstanding. The reader connects with Cur immediately, and his voice holds you from beginning to end. Each character is relatable, and most are endearing. Their interactions and relationships are portrayed with perfection, adding depth and authenticity to the story.
As the plot unfolds, it’s impossible not to become emotionally invested in Cur’s plight.
Ashford crafts prose that is elegant and verbose, but at the same time, it’s accessible—a rare combination. This is a book that reminds us of the joy of reading. It’s a star in its own right, an example of the magic found in the pages of a well-crafted story.
I will be reading this author some more.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 March 2023
Reviewed in Australia on 10 September 2023
Katherine Black / Susan (Sooz) Simpson
Founder of Best Book Editors
Katherine has held almost every single job imaginable, from painting gnomes to zookeeper. She spent most of her life in the caring profession and has managed both a nursing home and a care agency. But her passion for the written language always brings her home to novel writing.
Born in Tyne-and-Wear, North-East England, she has settled in the beautiful Lake District, Cumbria, with her partner, two dogs, a cat, an iguana and a python (just don’t ask her which of those six things is her favourite!).
She specialises in content creation and social media outreach, and has been a developmental editor for hundreds of clients. She owns and operates bestbookeditors.com where she helps foundling authors polish their skills. However, after being diagnosed with a dramatic brain condition in 2022, she has had to let 23 staff go, and scale back the business. BBE is still very much open, we are just fewer and can’t take as much work on.
Katherine Black is the author of psychological thriller/detective/fantasy adventure novels.