Oddly, although I have read all her novels and have never failed to be delighted by them, I had only ever read one of her short stories before. This is Twixt Firelight and Water, one of the stories in the collection. Especially interesting to those who have followed her Sevenwaters series, Twixt Firelight and Water fills in more of the story of the family of that world.
But Prickle Moon is not all set in the Sevenwaters world. This is a collection where the stories range widely. There is darkness but there is also romance, fairytales and humour.
Among the darker stories is the title story, Prickle Moon, which sees a woman asked to betray an unusual trust. Full of layers, at one point I had to put this story down because of the horror of the situation. It's one of the stand outs for me. Equally chilling are Angel of Death, where the reader is confronted with what happens as the RSPCA and volunteers raid a puppy farm and The Otherling, which deals with beliefs and consequences.
Retelling of fairy tales figures in much of Juliet Marillier's work and there's a fair sample of that here. I loved Poppy Seeds, and how it turns a traditional story on its head and while Let Down Your Hair may seem familiar as it starts out it certainly doesn't end that way. The traditional format of these two stories makes the contrast of By Bone Light more chilling. Although it has a modern, urban setting, its fairy tale roots are clear and its ending is very satisfying.
Among the romances in the collection are the historical Gift of Hope and, also historical but certainly less traditional, Letters From Robert, while there is a modern but different take on romance in Far Horizons.
There are other stories too - the funny Tough Love 3001 about a very unusual writers' workshop, Back and Beyond and Jack's Day, both about loss, Wraith, Level One, where a young wraith gets his first job, Juggling Silver, a sweet story of a community, and In Coed Celyddon, with its take on the Arthurian legend.
I thoroughly enjoyed Prickle Moon. Beautifully written, it should appeal to those who like their fantasy and romance rooted in reality.
Juliet Marillier's website is at www.julietmarillier.com where you will find details of her next books and she is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/juliet.marillier