The Billow Maiden by James Dixon, illustrated by Tamsin Rosewell


…I met a strange woman in a cave…

When Ailsa moves in with her aunt and uncle on an island where ‘nothing exciting ever happens’, little does she know her life would soon change forever.

With her mum unwell and being looked after by her concerned relatives, Ailsa spends most of her days exploring the coast with her Uncle’s beloved dog, Moxie. Together, they explore every nook and cranny of the island, climbing steep cliffs and venturing into crevices and caves, aware of the tides that threaten to rush in.

When Ailsa stumbles across a strange woman sitting in the water of a deep and dark cave, she runs for her life! After a restless night haunted by their meeting, she is scared but intrigued by the woman, and returns to the cave the next day.

Camilla Galach is home from school for the holidays. Ignored and unloved by her parents, the rumours her dad’s threatening the local fisherman’s trade stop her chances of any friendship.

Both struggling with life’s ups and downs, Ailsa and Camilla become friends and together they keep the woman in the cave a secret between them, as they figure out who she is, how she got there AND how they’re going to get her out!

They discover she is a billow maiden called Hefring, one of the nine daughters of the sea god, Ran. Her song has been weakened and yet her spirit is strong. She reluctantly learns to trust the girls who’ve come to her aid.

Connected, as only two woman who search for peace can be, Ailsa’s mum and Hefring have an unseen emotional bond. As Hefring becomes stronger, much to Ailsa’s surprise, so does her mum.

Ailsa and Camilla’s friendship grows even closer as they navigate family life, illness and the search for a secret item that will save Hefring and Ailsa’s mum, but at what cost?

If you listen closely to the wind, Hefring’s song is out there. Can you hear it?

The Billow Maiden is a wonderful story written by James Dixon. With beautiful illustrations by Tamsin Rosewell throughout, and the perfect collaboration with Ness Wood for the stunning cover, this page-turner is steeped in Norse mythology. With a brilliant contemporary story weaving the two threads together, this novel will have you hooked to the very last page. This is a fantastic novel from publishers, Guppy Books, and the wonderful creatives who entice us to read on, well past bedtime.


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