Annabel Davis-Goff,
The Fox's Walk
(Harcourt, 2004)

The Fox's Walk is a book about Irish history and life in the background of it, as told by 8-year-old Alice Moore. She watches her family and learns early to read the signs, to catch the unsaid comments, to read the tone of voice, and to read the silences that tell so much more than human conversation. These parts of the book were very interesting and caught my attention.

But I had trouble relating the Irish history, the two men at the helm of some activities in the book, to the little girl's life. I found it two-toned and took a long time to get through what was sometimes a beautiful delivery and at others, tiresome filler.

I would love to know the little girl on the cover of the book. She's astride a horse watching behind her with a knowing trepidation, but I didn't find her inside. The memoir continues, at a walking pace, and if I had lived in Ireland at the time, perhaps I could relate to the pace of the book.

The characters are all under scrutiny by Alice, and her emotions seem hidden by her curiosity and study of the world around her. They sip tea, and follow the directives of a stern and yet shadowy grandmother with no real sense of disaster or anxiety.

You could sit, sipping tea, on lace and pale yellow cushions on a delicate chair, before a large window in the sun room, looking out at the rolling green fields of the Irish landscape, and become for a time part of one of the few aristocratic families in Ireland and see what they see and think as they think. For a time ... as you read the book and pretend you are there. If your leisure time allows you this, you will enjoy this book, and might receive more imaginings and passion from it than I was able to experience.

As this is not a first book, the author may have a following for this style and the book appears to be part of a reading group with information at, if you'd like to find out more.

[ visit the author's website ]

review by
Virginia MacIsaac

12 January 2008

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