Hallowed Days
Daniel Hale
JournalStone (November 20, 2020)
Reviewed by Nora B. Peevy

“He is the midwife to fire … I (he) am (is) the Overseer of the Under Realms and the Autumn Kingdom. I (he) is the flutter of leaves on October breezes, and the cackling of witches under the full moon,” parts from Daniel Hale’s book, Hallowed Days. Yes, he is “the midwife of fire,” spinning tales of the “hallowed days.” It is fitting I am writing this in the month of March; Ostara is March 19th, the Spring Solstice is March 20th, and Easter Sunday is March 31st. Daniel Hale starts his collection with “Eggshells,” an Easter story about two brothers and an egg hunt. One brother goes to the egg hunt and wins the contest at the church. The younger brother was born that year after a mysterious foreshadowing when a disturbing broken egg reveals a horrifying deformed yolk. It is one of my favorite stories told from the older brother’s point of view. Daniel Hale does a remarkable job of having his reader sympathize with his main characters.

The book has a pagan theme and I feel right at home, since I am pagan, but if you are not, it gives you a flavor of the beliefs. It is quite a treat to savor on a lonely night with your favorite cup of tea or a snifter of brandy, lit candles or a crackling fireplace, a cozy blanket, and a cat on your lap or a dog warming your feet. Hale takes you on a journey between urban fantasy and legend that will delight people of all ages. This would make a wonderful new tradition for parents and their children. It is suitable for children ten and older to read. Hale paints his canvas with an intricate, vivid brush of simple, but powerful words. It is beautiful and mesmerizes adults as they delightfully reminisce about their favorite childhood holiday memories, but then he takes us on a darker adventure.

This is a collection I want to own for my library to repeatedly visit during the holiday seasons. It would become an instant favorite, right up there with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

About Nora B. Peevy

Nora B. Peevy is a cat trapped in a human’s body. Please send help or tuna. She toils away for JournalStone and Trepidatio Publishing as a submissions reader, is a co-editor for Alien Sun Press, the newest reviewer for Hellnotes, and has been published by Eighth Tower Press, Weird Fiction Quarterly, and other places. Usually, you can find her on Facebook asking for help escaping from her human body or to get tuna. Tuna is nice. Cats like tuna.

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