“A contemporary fantasy that is wholly original. I want to read it again and again.” —Ellen Klages, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Passing Strange
Ivy and her sisters have a secret: their reclusive Great-Aunt is actually Adela Martin, inspired author of the fantasy classic, Ivory Apples. Generations of obsessive fans have searched for Adela, poring over her letters, sharing their theories online, and gathering at book conventions. It is just a matter of time before one fan gets too close.
So when the seemingly-perfect Kate Burden appears at the local park, Ivy knows that something isn’t right. Kate has charmed the entire family, but she is suspiciously curious about Ivory Apples. And Ivy must protect what she and her Great-Aunt share: magic that is real, untamable, and—despite anyone’s desire—always prefers choosing its own vessel.
A Note From the Publisher
Praise for Ivory Apples
“An absorbing fantasy about the power of art, family secrets—and obsession. Ivy and her sisters have a secret. Their Great-Aunt Maeve is actually the reclusive author Adela Madden, who wrote Ivory Apples, a book that still, many years after publication, inspires a steady stream of fan mail. And some of those fans can be obsessive. That secret only becomes more urgent for Ivy when, wandering in the woods at Maeve's house, she stumbles upon a secret grove full of sprites, one of whom steps into her. So when a woman named Kate Burden strikes up a friendship with the girls and starts insinuating herself into their lives—and talking about how much she loves Ivory Apples—Ivy is immediately suspicious. But Kate's intentions are far more sinister than even Ivy suspects, and Piper, the sprite living inside her, is too much an agent of chaos to help. Soon Ivy and her sisters are plunged into a nightmare, and the cost of keeping Maeve's secret proves to be greater than they could have imagined. Goldstein (Weighing Shadows, 2015, etc.) has crafted a dark, suspenseful tale in which the power of the faery world is appealingly disruptive and dangerous. The dreamlike quality of portions of the book sometimes works to undercut the impact of genuinely traumatic events, but overall the story is gripping and unusual enough to keep the reader invested. This dark, eerie tale about the lengths people will go for a taste of magic will keep readers guessing until the end.”
“It’s great, I loved it, you will also love it.”
“Ivory Apples is a haunting story of what a classic fantasy work can do for and to its readers and its creator; on the other, it’s a pretty wonderful, clear-eyed, and unsentimental fantasy novel entirely on its own terms, muse or no muse.”
—Gary K. Wolfe, Locus
“Ivory Apples is like a set of Russian Matryoshka dolls: stories within stories within stories within stories that keep you reading all the way to the bottom. I finished in eight hours and now want to read it again. What a charming book in all senses of the word.”
—Jane Yolen, author of The Emerald Circus
“Ivory Apples is a legendary fantasy novel of the great-nieces of their Great-Aunt Adela, almost as celebrated and mysterious as the book itself, and the charming superfan Kate Burden—a sort of wicked Mary Poppins on the dogged hunt for hidden magic But magic has always its own desires, far beyond any fan's dream.”
—Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn and Summerlong.
“Neil Gaiman hasn't written anything half as good as Ivory Apples . . . If you enjoyed books such as The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, or War for the Oaks by Emma Bull, you'll love Ivory Apples.”
—Little Red Reviewer
“A contemporary fantasy that is wholly original. I want to read it again and again.”
—Ellen Klages, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Passing Strange
“A powerful fairy tale set without compromise in the modern world—the characters are convincingly real, and the magic is genuinely enchanting and perilous.”
—Tim Powers, author of Alternate Routes and Down and Out in Purgatory
“Lisa Goldstein’s work invariably surprises and inspires me. Ivory Apples is no exception. A vivid tale of magic and its consequences, filled with beauty and terror. Would you like a muse of your own? Really? Be careful what you wish for.”
—Pat Murphy, author of The Wild Girls
“A fine, swift, effervescent fantasy.”
—John Crowley, author of Ka and Little, Big
“So many contemporary fantasists have learned from Lisa Goldstein’s weird, wise, humane and graceful example; her books comprise the best sort of magic school. Now, in Ivory Apples, she leads us deep into a wondrous grove that only she could scry. Goldstein is a true enchanter.”
—Andy Duncan, author of An Agent of Utopia
“Lisa Goldstein is writing some of the most exciting fantasy out there. Ivory Apples is terrific.”
—Jo Walton, author of Among Others and Lent
“[T]his is a strong entry into the mysterious magical book genre. A-/B+.”
“Lisa Goldstein’s glimpse into the dark secrets of creativity casts a lingering spell on the reader that no counter-spell can completely dispel.”
—Bookshine and Readbows
“This is my first book by Lisa Goldstein but here is an author that definitely needs to go on my auto buy list. I don’t know what it is but here is an author that can make a book feel personal. Like this book was written for me. It was, I swear it was. The writing is really lovely, hypnotic almost.”
—Lynn’s Book Blog
“Lisa Goldstein has created a masterpiece of fantasy and reality.”
—The Lovely Librarian
Praise for Lisa Goldstein
“She has given us the kind of magic and adventure that once upon a time made us look for secret panels in the halls of wardrobes or brush our teeth with a book held in front of our eyes, because we couldn’t bear to put it down.”
—The New Yorker
“Lisa Goldstein is the perfect, born storyteller. Her story pulls you in and wraps you round, and it is hard to think of anything else until it is over.”
—Diana Wynne Jones
“Lisa Goldstein’s work deserves to be celebrated along with that of Alice Walker and Shirley Jackson.”
—Lucius Shepard, author of Green Eyes
“A new novel from [Goldstein] is always a cause for celebration.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“[Goldstein] never writes the same type of story twice, and she never disappoints.”
—Mark Graham, Denver Rocky Mountain News
Praise for The Uncertain Places
“An exquisitely beautiful, eerily compelling modern fairy tale.”
—Library Journal, starred review
“The Uncertain Places continued to surprise me at every page and, as a writer, filled me with raw, disgraceful envy: Boy I wish I’d thought of this one....”
—Peter S. Beagle, author of A Fine & Private Place and In Calabria
“Lisa Goldstein is back and at the top of her game.”
“The Uncertain Places is one of those delightful books that are worth the wait. It combines all the things that I like best about Goldstein’s work: great, believable characters; a well-defined setting (this time it’s 1970s Berkeley); and subtle magic that plays by the rules.”
—Charles de Lint, Fantasy & Science Fiction
“Goldstein’s complex and ingenious plot transplants the forest realm of European folktale, where witches grant wishes with strings attached and you’d better be careful which frog you kiss, into the sun-drenched hills of Northern California in the 1970s—and beyond.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin
“This entrancing book perfectly captures the subconscious logic of fairy tales—you’ll find yourself believing it all and wishing you could go to these places yourself, with all their wonders and perils.”
—Tim Powers, author of The Stress of Her Regard and The Bible Repairman and Other Stories
“It’s fitting that a spider is the symbol of the elf-struck family in this book, because Lisa Goldstein’s prose is more than a little like a spider’s web: so deceptively simple that you could take it for granted until the angle of light changes and its full beauty is suddenly revealed.”
—Tad Williams, author of Tailchaser’s Song
“From Lisa Goldstein, one of our most subtle and enduring writers, comes this exquisite interweaving of fairy tale and modern life. The Uncertain Places demonstrates that love and the stuff of legends are sometimes indistinguishable and share the same dark bed.”
“A gripping story that twists with compelling dream logic; Goldstein’s fairy-tale family radiate believable unreality, and the faerie realm contained herein evinces the perfect mix of terror and attraction. Start reading this at your peril; once I did, I couldn’t stop until I was done.”
—Cory Doctorow, author of Content and Context
“Goldstein fearlessly rubs the dreamlike logic of fairy tales up against stark realism, and each one makes the other more real.”
“It’s an engaging look at Northern California in the ’70s by way of the Brothers Grimm...a shrewd and satisfying venture down the crooked paths and unpredictable byways of the Otherworld.”
—Patricia A. McKillip, author of Wonders of the Invisible World
-Planned galley distribution and book giveaways to include NetGalley, Goodreads, Edelweiss, Tor.com, and additional online outlets
-Author events/appearances to include the San Francisco Bay area and national events TBD
-Features, interviews, and reviews targeting literary and genre venues, including the Washington Post, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Locus, and the San Francisco Chronicle
-Promotion at major trade and genre conventions, including BEA, ALA, Readercon, and the World Science Fiction and World Fantasy conventions
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 57 members
It is said one has to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince, and while that aphorism may be a matter of debate in romance, the novel Ivory Apples by Lisa Goldstein proves its truth in regard to books. This contemporary fantasy novel is a prince or more accurately in line with this book's plot: a princess. This book is a jewel! It deserves the highest accolades!
A totally different kind of fantasy with memorable characters and a story line that sparked all kinds of emotion. Well-written and engrossing, a tale that should appeal to everyone who enjoys top-notch stories.
*I consumed this story in less than 24 hours.* Ivy and her three younger sisters live a normal middle class life with their widowed father, with one big secret -- once a month, they go out to visit their secretive great-aunt Maeve who lives in isolation away from the view of her hoards of adoring fans. Aunt Maeve is the author of Ivory Apples, a fantasy cult favorite with a huge and obsessive following, and Ivy's father manages her finances and fan mail. After stumbling upon the supernatural during one of the visits to Aunt Maeve, Ivy finds herself with a secret supernatural companion named Piper whose capricious whimsy often threatens to overwhelm her own desires and feelings. And, at around the same time, a vaguely innocuous woman named Kate befriends Ivy's sisters and inserts herself into their lives. On the surface, Kate is a delightful lady, but something about her makes Ivy and Piper uneasy. The author has a delightful and deliberate way with words. The mystery around Kate's intentions kept me guessing -- clearly she is going to be important in these girls' lives, but is she going to be a mother figure or the villain? I was particularly impressed with the scene when Ivy stumbles upon the world of the supernatural in the grove behind Aunt Maeve's house. The descriptions of her first encounter with Piper were palpable. And, as only children can do, she immediately goes back to her normal life after experiencing something so incredible. I have some criticisms of the book, mainly that it didn't end the way I wanted it to end, but it's still a good ending. And any criticisms I may have are far outweighed by the magic of the rest of the story. It was full of the grittiness and darkness and hopefulness of old fairy tales, and it's something I'd certainly read again.
A pale watery sun sieved through the branches.....This tale of an author who wrote a book about a magical town through the pillars of moonlit trees, is filled with breathtaking descriptions like this. In hiding from her adoring fans, from those who would seek the town they know is real, Adele harbors a secret. But a stalking fan will do anything to find the reclusive author.....anything. Subtle buildup of the family who helps the aunt, to mystery, and finally to thriller, tinged with horror. It's just a book, written decades ago......isn't it?
Ivy and her sisters know the rules: never call Aunt Maeve by her real name, never never tell anyone she wrote the cult fantasy novel Ivory Apples, and definitely never tell anyone about the fairy-like muses that live in a grove behind her house. But when a woman in the park befriends her family and starts asking questions, Ivy must decide how far she is willing to go to protect her family and their secrets. Full of atmospheric tension, Ivory Apples is a perfect new read for fans of Jo Walton and Kat Howard.
I really enjoyed this book. After reading a few chapters I was so engrossed I couldn't put it down. I read the whole thing in one sitting. It touches on a lot of dark and uncomfortable issues and really made me think. The main character Ivy goes through so many hard things throughout the story and her development was probably one of the best parts of the book. It's also filled with action and suspense. I also loved the ending. It wrapped up so beautifully. Honestly, I could go on forever and in much more detail, but am trying to leave a spoiler free review.
Maeve is a pseudonym for Adela Martin, the renowned author of the folklore novel, Ivory Apples. Maeve changed her name and moved to the middle of nowhere, because her fandom became more than she could bear. Ivory Apples was not only a success, it created a following that was cult-like. Ivy is Maeve’s great niece. Ivy and her three sisters live an average, everyday life with their father who is an engineering professor. Ivy’s mom passed away much earlier, when her younger sister was just a baby. Occasionally they visit their Aunt Maeve, but they are under the strictest orders to never reveal who Aunt Maeve really is, nor where she lives. When a woman befriends Ivy and her sisters and the park, Ivy is suspicious of her. This woman is too kind and too friendly and wants to insinuate herself into their lives. The woman, Kate, is far too fond of the book Ivory Apples. No one else suspects anything. Until Kate truly becomes part of their lives. The fairytale quality of this book enchanted me. I loved how it was a book within a book. The need for Maeve to escape due to her fandom is probably a real thing. It makes sense that if a book inspires people to become obsessed, they would haunt an author into retreating. I loved the way that Lisa Goldstein incorporated Greek mythology into the story, even making it a focal point. There is a lot of tragedy in the book, but it’s real, everyday stuff that people deal with. This was the first novel by Lisa Goldstein that I’ve read. I would definitely read her other books, as I loved the fantasy element and the fun. She does a brilliant job of weaving fantasy and reality into one tale. 3.75 stars on Goodreads This review will be posted at BookwormishMe.com on 11 October 2019 .
Ivy, her three sisters and her dad keep an enormous secret, their Great aunt is a very famous author. However her book is such a masterpiece that her fans desperately try to find out who she is, some believing that her fantasy book could be true and this unknown author has access to muses. When a woman begins to take an abnormal interest in Ivy's family, she knows the woman is up to no good. When a series of unfortunate events happens, Ivy has to do everything in her power to protect her Great aunt's secret and her sisters from the strange woman. I really enjoyed this book. The plot is very unique and keeps you on your toes. It's a book I had a hard time putting it down. The ending tied up the story nicely; there were no loose ends that I could think of. The main character is strong and uses all her resources to do what's necessary and takes responsibility for her family at a very young age. She's not at all a bumbling, weak heroine looking for someone to save her. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Ivory Apples Lisa Goldstein Long-protected secrets, obsessions and the power of magic threaten to tear a family apart in this powerful fantasy from Lisa Goldstein, which I recently read courtesy of NetGalley and Tachyon Publications. It is good. Really good. It has a unique story to tell, great characters and exists in a thoroughly believable world Ivy and her sisters have a secret. Their Great-Aunt Maeve is actually the reclusive author Adela Madden, who wrote a wondrous fantasy - Ivory Apples, a book that still, many years after publication, inspires a steady stream of fan mail. And some of these fans can be obsessive. Dangerously so, as the girls are soon to find out. The mysterious Kate Burden has a way of popping up wherever the girls are, and quickly strikes up a friendship. She loves their Great-Aunt's book and easily wheedles her way in to girl's daily lives, and that of their widowed father. What once seemed harmless and innocent, now seems dark and threatening. It is, in ways the two girls cannot begin to imagine. The book is filled with magic, enchantment and lots of surprises that will leave readers guessing and afraid to turn to the next page. Goldstein's contemporary fantasy has a dreamlike atmosphere throughout the book which, when events turn sharply dark, just heightens their impact (and our jumpiness). It is beautifully written, with a pace that drives us through to 'OMG what happens next.' There is an honesty to the writing, a matter-of-factness, that insists on the reader accepting that 'well, this is always the way things happen. Why do you look so surprised,' A great read. Highly recommended.
"Ivy and her sisters have a secret: their reclusive Great-Aunt is actually Adela Martin, inspired author of the fantasy classic, Ivory Apples. Generations of obsessive fans have searched for Adela, poring over her letters, sharing their theories online, and gathering at book conventions. It is just a matter of time before one fan gets too close. So when the seemingly-perfect Kate Burden appears at the local park, Ivy knows that something isn’t right. Kate has charmed the entire family, but she is suspiciously curious about Ivory Apples. And Ivy must protect what she and her Great-Aunt share: magic that is real, untamable, and - despite anyone’s desire - always prefers choosing its own vessel." Books within books and the passion that drives fans are favorite tropes of mine!
Tired of the same boring, unoriginal fantasy books? Then Ivory Apples might just be exactly what you need. It's a refreshingly unique take on magical realism from National Book Award-winner, Lisa Goldstein. I cannot tell you how much I loved it and finished it in a mere few hours despite trying to savour it. Both the primary and secondary characters were fleshed out incredibly well and were thoroughly engaging and the mix of mystery, magical realism, suspense, fantasy and mythology worked superbly to propel the slow-burn tale forward. It follows Ivy and her sisters who are desperately trying to guard a family secret - their Great-Aunt Maeve is actually renowned writer Adela Madden, author of a book named Ivory Apples but values her privacy fiercely. When obsessive fan Kate Burden becomes too close to finding out the truth the sisters swing into action and come to her defence by trying to keep Kate at arm's length. The writing style is really quite exhilarating and beautiful; it had me feeling very nostalgic and remembering reading all of those wonderful 90s fantasies I immersed myself in. It's a powerful story and as it moves forward it gets darker and darker and you see exactly how many intricate layers make up the plot. A great, original read. Many thanks to Tachyon Publications for an ARC.
Ivory Apples is a dark fairytale; intended for adults, rather than children. I was reminded at first of books like Joan Aitken’s Wolves Chronicles, or Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, as there are similar themes here: orphans, corrupt guardians, terrible trials and special powers or skills. However the tone here is older and darker, and infinitely more disturbing, as it deals with loss of sanity and the inability to trust one’s own senses. The author’s imagining of the Muses – inspiration to artists and authors alike – is enchantingly wild and yet innocent. I was as bewitched by the woodland grove as the characters themselves were, and felt a strong compulsion to search for such a place myself, gifts (and sacrifices) in hand. What I wouldn’t give for a Piper of my very own! Well, what I wouldn’t give is my family, my mind, or my future. Ivy is faced with some serious choices over the course of the story, and doesn’t always make the morally obvious decisions. Just as in reality, her character has the potential to love and sacrifice, but also to be selfish and neglectful. Similarly, whilst the villain/s of the story are led astray by their intense jealousy and selfishness, it was hard not to feel sympathy, even pity, for them as they are excluded from a world of magic and wonder for not being ‘special’ enough. Ivory Apples is a story about stories and inspiration; growing up and responsibility; accepting oneself, and making the best of what you already have. This is not a happily-ever-after fairytale, but a grimmer story of toil and trauma. But magic is magic, whatever the flavour; and Lisa Goldstein’s glimpse into the dark secrets of creativity casts a lingering spell on the reader that no counter-spell can completely dispell. There were a lot of things I didn’t understand about Great-aunt Maeve when I was growing up. For one thing, although she and my father insisted that we call her Maeve Reynolds, that wasn’t her real name. – Lisa Goldstein, Ivory Apples Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog
https://lynns-books.com/2019/11/14/ivory-apples-by-lisa-goldstein/ 4 of 5 stars Ivory Apples is one of those magical realism stories that also contains a book within a book. It took me on the strangest journey to be honest and I can well imagine that this will definitely be a book that speaks to different readers in different ways. On the face of it you could say this is about the hidden magic that sometimes touches people’s lives. By the same token you could read between the lines and say this is a book about so much more. Family dynamics, mythology, obsession and survival all play a role here and just a heads up this book is a wrecking ball on emotions and can be quite dark in a number of ways. In other words magical realism can be one tough cookie so don’t underestimate it. I’m not going to elaborate massively on the plot. We meet Ivy and her family while she’s quite young. They’re a slightly eccentric family, Ivy’s mother has passed away and their father looks after his four daughters. Things are a little crazy but everyone is happy. The family secret, kept firmly in the closet like all skeletons, is Great Aunt Maeve. Maeve is the assumed name of famous author Adela Madden. Adela wrote a book called Ivory apples – only the one book – but it has become something of a cult phenomenon and Adela went into hiding as a result. Ivy and her family keep their aunt’s secret closely guarded, they visit her once a month but they never use her real name. Then a stranger befriends the girls. Kate, she’s almost too good to be true in some respects, like Mary Poppins landing on your doorstep and feeding you ladles of sugar. Somethings up though and Ivy can just feel it and pretty soon everything is going to become a series of unfortunate events – yes, that was intentional. So, if I’m not going to discuss the plot any further then what else? Firstly, the writing. This is my first book by Lisa Goldstein but here is an author that definitely needs to go on my auto buy list. I don’t know what it is but here is an author that can make a book feel personal. Like this book was written for me. It was, I swear it was. The writing is really lovely, hypnotic almost. Secondly the characters. Let’s just be brutally honest – Ivy and Kate are the main characters – which isn’t to say that the supporting cast is weak just more that they’re show stealers. Ivy has a great narrative voice that really hooked me in quickly. Kate on the other hand. She is relentless, she’s like the Terminator, she absolutely WILL NOT STOP. She refuses to be beaten down or give in and it gives her a certain scary element that you begin to really buy into. Like, she really can’t be stopped. Thirdly, the inclusion of mythology. I’m not going to tell you in what respect this plays a part because that would take us to the land of spoilers but I can say I loved this aspect and the way it’s magical but at the same time you could pass it off, just like when you see something out of the corner of your eye – you didn’t really see something – or did you? So, yeah, the magic is here, it plays a very real part in the lives written about – but it’s an element that you could really think into, like is this really about coming of age, about finding yourself, about thinking you need something more than you actually need it. I’m sorry for being mysterious but I really don’t want to give things away whilst at the same time I really want to discuss the way this made me feel. Criticisms. Nothing really, there are a few moments here and there where lulls occurred but they were fleeting. I also must say that some of the things that the girls experienced made me feel downright sad – particularly one event which hit me out of nowhere. And, I would just throw in here that I’ve read a couple of books recently with a very similar feel in certain regards – namely the famous author in hiding, the one off fantasy novel that is a huge success, etc, but, this books stands on it’s own in all other respects, just saying. This is a novel driven by family, by love, by envy, by obsession and by finding yourself, your real self, and coming to terms with it. And, in the midst of all of this is a magical forest and mythological creatures. I received a copy, through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.
Lisa Goldstein is one of the treasures of fantasy literature, with each new work a gem. Ivory Apples is, I think, her best yet. It centers around a book of the same name, one of those magical favorites that gets re-read a hundred times by obsessive fans, that helps readers weather desolate times, and that spawns fan clubs, websites, and entire conventions devoted to the story, its character, and its mysterious author. It’s also the secret in the lives of young Ivy and her three remarkable sisters. From as long as she can remember, her Great-Aunt Maude has been a recluse, an extreme introvert terrified of publicity, the family visits to her remote home never to be spoken of. For not only is Maude the author of Ivory Apples, she wrote it while partnered with an actual Muse. Soon the entire family becomes the target of Kate, manipulative and unscrupulous and single-mindedly set on getting a Muse of her own. I found myself swept up and captivated by the story in very much the same way Maude’s readers have been transformed by Ivory Apples. This book is a true treasure, worthy of multiple re-readings, a perfect holiday gift for the child in all of us.
This book was received as an ARC from Tachyon Publications in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. Lisa Goldstein has created a masterpiece of fantasy and reality. Ivy and her family have a long kept secret and her great aunt is one of the most famous novelists of all time. Everyone wants to meet her and will stop at nothing to show their love for her books until Kate Burden gets too close and too obsessive almost having Ivy and her family secret exposed. Kate is asking way too many questions and growing her curiosity of Ivory Apples and Ivy will stop at nothing to protect her family and the magic she shares with her aunt. This book brought smiles all around my face and I could not stop reading it because there was something intriguing on every page. I know everyone will grow to love this book as much as I do. We will consider adding this title to our Fantasy collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
I know I'm a little late to the game on this review, but when I did finally get to this little gem, I couldn't put it down. First, I love books within books! There was the great balance of tension and enchantment. Lovers of Kat Howard and Sarah Addison Allen should definitely pick this up.
In The Uncertain Places, Lisa Goldstein explores how far people will go to preserve their family's legacy, and what happens when that legacy is disturbed. Here she explores protecting a legacy in very different terms. In Ivory Apples, Ivy and her sisters have to protect their family's secret, that their reclusive relative is a celebrated and famous author of a long-revered fantasy classic. But the book wasn't one person's work, it was a work of...inspiration. And inspiration can be stolen, co-opted, or pressed into service. Ivy and her sisters are suspicious of Kate, who seems too good to be true, and who has shown up on the scene with little explanation and no backstory. Rather than a person in service to the fae, here Goldstein brings to the fore the plight of true magic. It's a beautifully written tale, with moments of wonder, and heartrending episodes. Highly recommended.
Review of Lisa Goldstein’s The Ivory Apples Reviewed by Sam Lubell The Ivory Apples by Lisa Goldstein is the story of an obsessed fan turned to evil. The narrator’s Aunt Maeve wrote a beloved novel, Ivory Apples, many years ago under her real name Adela Madden. But now she has hidden herself away from fans of the book who throw conventions about the novel, write letters, engage in endless speculation, and struggle to find out what happened to the author. When the narrator, Ivy, was eleven, she encountered strange spirits in the woods near Aunt Maeve’s house; one of them enters into her and starts altering her perceptions and behavior. Soon afterwards Ivy and her siblings encounter a woman at the local park, Kate Burden, who played games with them and gradually takes the place of a mother in their lives, although Ivy does not trust her. Then, after their father mysteriously dies in Kate’s basement, the sisters discover their father’s last will had changed their guardian from his brother to Kate. Kate horribly mistreats the sisters in an effort to convince them to tell her where to find their aunt. Kate has a form of magical control over the spirits, who turn out to be the source of the Greek myths about the muses. Ivy runs away, helped by the muse within her, but is determined to come back and fight Kate for her sisters’ lives. The magic here is low key. Kate’s magic can create illusions and manipulate people to help her. The muse inside Ivy enhances her poetic talents and it turns out that Ivy’s aunt also once had a muse in her, which may account for why her book is so powerful. Although Ivory Apples does have some of the characteristics of a Young Adult novel – the age of the protagonist, the use of the first person, efforts by Ivy and her sisters to find their identities, the inability of adults to help, and even the first stages of falling in love – the book does not have the feel of a YA novel. The tone and the book’s concerns seem to me to fit adults more than they do YA. I recommend the book for readers more interested in characterization than action and who are willing to let a story mature slowly, rather than starting with a bang and going from excitement to more excitement.