Hayden Thorne, Queerteen Press

An Unlikely Friendship Transforms “The Weeping Willow”

“Fairy tales and folk tales are for children and childlike people, not because they are little and inconsequential, but because they are as enormous as life itself.” ― Anthony Esolen

Crispian Butcher is a throw-away child who, at fifteen, has learned what it means to be homeless, friendless, hungry, tired with nowhere to rest. He finds work where he can, lucking into a job that provides just enough for survival, making his home within the sheltering branches of a weeping willow tree, a very special tree that is so much more than what it seems, a tree that is bound by magic to absorb a wealth of human grief.

The Weeping Willow is a story of home, the tale of an infant who was cursed upon his mother’s death to become something other, and the tale of a young man who is cast from his home upon his mother’s death for being “other”. It’s a story of strength and perseverance, and a story of a powerful curse broken in the only way curses can be—love. This is a story of courage, not of overcoming fear but of recognizing the very human gifts one has been given—a life, a soul, friendship, compassion—and being brave enough to gather that into the desire to be more than the spell that’s been cast. It’s the story of an unlikely bond between a boy and a tree that has taken on the role of becoming warmth and shelter and refuge—all the things a home should be.

There’s no one who does fairy tales quite the way Hayden Thorne does them, reimagining them into coming-of-age stories that are so much more than the young protagonists slotting neatly into the label of their sexuality. Rather, the stories are an eloquent journey of self-discovery in which the young heroes, unwittingly facing whatever forces work for and against them, fall into a magical sort of recognition that can only happen when love casts its spell, not always easy but always enchanting.

The Weeping Willow charmed its way into my heart in a way only the best fairy tales can, in the hands of an author who loves to weave her own brand of magic into stories of young love.

You can buy The Weeping Willow here:


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