I read this once before, years ago, & remembered that I liked it, but hadn’t been able to find it again. It is, apparently, out of print. Bought a used copy of it from Amazon along with a number of other books from the Fairy Tale Series. I have in mind an idea for a novel, based in part on Tam Lin among other things, and am reading these again for inspiration.
This one’s set in a small Midwestern liberal arts college. It’s as much a coming of age book as an adaptation of the Scottish ballad. Dean’s got a nice sense of the way college feels and a love of literature that rings throughout the book. I was thinking of how clubby literature is, in a way. For those of us who read, it provides both a filter and a short-hand way of talking about, writing about, & thinking about the world.
I like the main character very much, perhaps especially like the fact that she’s a voracious reader (much like me). I like the conflicts, simple though they are, throughout the book. I like the quiet improbabilities that add up to the improbable ending, although the ending feels a bit forced – as if it were cobbled on to fit into the ballad while the main parts of the book have little to do with it.
It’s a lovely ballad, Tam Lin, one in which the girl rescues the boy. There’s not near enough of that in the world. Altogether a pleasant read.