Alyssha promised her father she wouldn’t return to Bandor, and for six years she has kept that promise. But the hit-and-run victim she found dying on a Granville street was a man she met in that other world, and his family won’t know what happened to him unless she goes back to tell them. She really has no choice, has she?
And the other dead man, the body lying in a willow grove near the road to Bandor Gan… Finding him there was just a terrible coincidence, wasn’t it?
Alyssha fervently hopes so. Yes, six years ago Bandor had troubles – cruel and repressive laws, workers exploited in the city’s woolen mills and the northern mines. Growing pains of the budding industrial revolution. Some people were angry, ready to fight. But these problems seem smaller and easier to solve, somehow, than the problems she’s left behind. Bandor is cleaner, kinder, more peaceful, more right, than the frantic world she inherited in 21st Century America.
Anyway, the problems aren’t hers to solve. There’s so much country here that these troubles don’t touch. She’ll go to the nomadic village where her friends are, where she was happy all those years ago. She’ll study with the old kura, learning to be a teacher, a healer. Her life will mean more, here among these cheerful, pleasant people, than it would mean in Granville. She’ll find her home here, and she’ll be content.
And, as in a fairy tale, there’ll be a happy ending. She and Kardl loved each other back then, when they were children. Now they’re grown up, and the daydreams that sustained her in Granville will come true at last. Kardl will be here, waiting for her, as she’s waited all these years for him…
Can the reality of Bandor ever live up to Alyssha’s dreams?
Alyssha’s life has been on hold ever since her visit to Bandor. Even though she was only twelve when she went through the door to Bandor, she knew in her heart that the other universe was her home. Only a promise to her father has kept her from crossing over again. I must admit that I have mixed feelings about Alyssha’s situation. On one hand, I admire her patience and determination. On the other hand, I can’t help but feel that Alyssha has missed out on so much. By living in her dreams, she essentially withdrew from the real world. However, Alyssha seems to be okay with this, and despite her lack of close relationships, she is a sweet young woman, and I looked forward to getting to know her as I read.
Ms. Thornburg did an excellent job of creating an alternate universe. I found the similarities and differences between the two universes interesting. However, I must let readers know that this is not a book to race through. In order to truly appreciate this book, readers need to take their time and really soak up the atmosphere of the world that Ms. Thornburg has created. That being said, I did find the sections detailing the political situation and the various clans and factions a little slow. While it definitely provided useful information key to understanding the world Alyssha was living in, it was a bit hard to get into those sections.
Once in Bandor, Alyssha finds herself in a strange love triangle. Kardl has changed quite a bit since she last saw him, and Alyssha isn’t sure if anything remains of the boy she fell in love with. Another man has also attracted her attention. I must say that Alyssha’s romantic dilemmas are resolved in unexpected ways, and I enjoyed watching Alyssha mature and learn to live and love in the real Bandor, and not just the one in her fantasies.
I must say that I loved the ending of this tale. I can’t say much without spoiling it, but I will say that someone very important to Alyssha makes a decision that I never foresaw and yet it made complete sense. It definitely left me with a smile on my face.
The Kura is certainly an enjoyable tale. Readers looking to lose themselves in a tale of love and friendship should definitely give The Kura a try.