Young Woman in a Garden: Stories
by Delia Sherman
Cover Artist: Kathleen Jennings
Review by Mario Guslandi
Small Beer Press Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781618730916
Date: 11 November 2014 List Price $16.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
A renowned novelist (Porcelain Dove, Changeling, etc.), Delia Sherman is also the author of short stories, which have appeared in magazines and anthologies, some of which are now assembled in a collection for the first time. Sherman is a refined fantasist (intended in a broad sense) whose work includes both fantasy (in a strict sense) and dark fiction, with occasional trips into the supernatural. Her eclectic abilities as a writer is well represented in the present volume.
To me the highlights of the book are: "La Fée Verte", a superb historical piece set at the time of the Paris siege around 1870, depicting the particular liaison between a classy, expensive whore and a young woman with a visionary ability, and "The Parwat Ruby", a delicious piece of supernatural horror revolving around a cursed precious stone.
Another excellent story is "The Printer's Daughter", an enticing fable where a printer has to face an impossible task with the help of an unusual apprentice.
"Land's End" is a dark sea tale featuring ships and lighthouses, while "The Fiddler of Bayou Teche" is a nice fantasy piece about fiddle playing and dancing and "The Red Piano" is a clever story of psychic vampirism involving a haunted piano.
Readers fond of good, solid fiction regardless genre barriers, are going to greatly enjoy this fascinating collection.