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Franny Billingsley

(1954- )
Franny Billingsley is the author of two award-winning children’s fantasy novels, Well Wished and The Folk Keeper, as well as the newly released novel Chime and the picture book Big Bad Bunny.Billingsley graduated from Tufts University in 1976, and from Boston University Law School in 1979. After moving back to Chicago, she wrote for many years while working at 57th Street Books in Hyde Park until 1999. She is now a full-time author. She lives in the suburbs of Chicago and has two children. Learn more at Franny Billingsley’s website.

Chime: An odd book

Chime by Franny Billingsley

Briony has lots of secrets. She’s a witch. She can see the Old Ones. And when she loses her temper, bad things happen, like the accidents that crippled both her sister and her stepmother. Luckily, her stepmother figured out why these things happened, and taught Briony the trick to make sure they never happen again: she must always hate herself. Always. And she can never tell anyone else about her secret power, or she will be hanged. But when the locals decide to start draining the swamp near the town for the train to go through, the Old Ones retaliate, striking down the children of the town with Swamp Cough. And when Briony’s sister contracts the fatal disease, she knows it is up to her to fix the problem, even if it may cost her her life.

Chime is an odd book. The writing is very stylized, and as Briony serves as a quite unreliable narrator, her internal dialog makes up a ... Read More

More books by Franny Billingsley

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsWell Wished — (1997) Publisher: One wish for a lifetime… In the village of Bishop Mayne there is a magical Wishing Well where a person may make one wish in a lifetime. But the Well can create problems for those who use its power, for wishes often go wrong. It was just such a wish that took all the children in the town away. Only eleven-year-old Nuria, who lives with her grandfather up on the mountain, remains. Then one child returns — Catty Winter. Catty’s legs are mysteriously crippled, and Catty desperately wants Nuria to make a wish so she can walk again. Nuria swears she will make the wish for her friend. But the Well has a mind of its own. What if Nuria’s wish qoes wrong?

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Folk Keeper — (1999) Ages 10 and up. Publisher: She is never cold, she always knows exactly what time it is, and her hair grows two inches while she sleeps. Fifteen-year-old Corinna Stonewall — the only Folk Keeper in the city of Rhysbridge — sits hour after hour with the Folk in the dark, chilly cellar, “drawing off their anger as a lightning rod draws off lightning.” The Folk are the fierce, wet-mouthed, cave-dwelling gremlins who sour milk, rot cabbage, and make farm animals sick. Still, they are no match for the steely, hard-hearted, vengeful orphan Corinna who prides herself in her job of feeding, distracting, and otherwise pacifying these furious, ravenous creatures. The Folk Keeper has power and independence, and that’s the way she likes it. One day, Corinna is summoned by Lord Merton to come to the vast seaside estate Cliffsend as Folk Keeper and family member — for she is the once-abandoned child he has been looking for. It is at Cliffsend that Corinna learns where her unusual powers come from, why she is drawn to the sea, and finally, what it means to be comfortable in her own skin. Written in the form of a journal, The Folk Keeper is a powerful story of a proud, ferociously self-reliant girl who breaks out of her dark, cold, narrow world into one of joy, understanding, and even the magic of romance.