The Changeling of Finnistuath

Written by Kate Horsley
Review by Suzanne Crane

Set in medieval Ireland, The Changeling of Finnistuath is an in-depth look into the morass of hypocrisy and vulgarity that one calls civilization. It is the life journey of a peasant named Grey, born a girl, but raised believing she is a boy. When finally revealed as female, Grey’s life becomes a series of events that exposes the failures of almost all the ideals that her society professes. From fornicating priests to the iniquities of the unbreakable caste system, Grey observes, participates, and survives. From boy to girl, spiritual whore to mother, goatherd to warrior, Grey becomes all of these and more. When plague and men’s evil cannot break Grey, and when the death of love seems to be able to destroy her at last, it is her ability to don the cloak of so many assumed personae that allows her to continue.

Ms. Horsley’s writing is intense and thought-provoking, and the enforced mixture of the beliefs of Old Religion and Christianity appropriately reflects society at that time. The oppression of the Irish by the English, the squalor and poverty in which all but the privileged few live, and the brutalities of life in those times are vividly portrayed. An excellent novel, but definitely not for the lighthearted.