(1953- ) US writer best-known for Children's Fantasy. Most of PCW's books fit into one of two series. Lyra is an Otherworld which humans share with Fairies, called the Shee, and Forest folk, called the Wyrd. The stories usually feature female lead characters seeking to solve some personal anguish in a warm and pleasant world that is being threatened by the evil Shadow Born. They bear some comparison with Tolkien's work, but more in mood than in presentation. The series so far runs Shadow Magic (1982), Daughter of Witches (1983), The Harp of Imach Thyssel (1985), Caught in Crystal (1987) and The Raven Ring (1994). PCW's other series is set in the Enchanted Forest. The first, Talking to Dragons (1985; rev 1993), is a delightful High Fantasy with an Alice-in-Wonderland mood. Daystar, a young boy, lives in a cottage on the edge of the Enchanted Forest, which is a Polder of enchantment. He witnesses his mother melt down a Wizard. She tells him he is now old enough to enter the Enchanted Forest and must not return until he is ready. She gives him a Sword which Daystar later learns is the Sword of the sleeping king, lost since Daystar's birth. Once he is in the Forest, events happen fast as Daystar struggles to understand who he is and why he's there. Although the story is a Rite of Passage, his actions soon appear to be just a small part of a much vaster tapestry, particularly the role of the Dragons in the war of the wizards. PCW then went to the back-story of the Enchanted Forest in Dealing With Dragons (1990; vt Dragonsbane 1993 UK), Searching for Dragons (1991; vt Dragon Search 1994 UK) and Calling on Dragons (1993). All four were assembled as The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (omni 1996).
Snow White and Rose Red (1989) is a Revisionist Fantasy setting the original Fairytale in Elizabethan England at the time of John Dee and Mairelon the Magician (1991) is another Fantasy of History, set this time in Regency England.
PCW's stories may be formulaic, but she brings to them vitality and enthusiasm. [MA]
other works: The Seven Towers (1984); Sorcery and Cecelia (1988) with Caroline Stevermer; Book of Enchantments (1996).
Patricia Collins Wrede