I’ve written some reflections of this book already, here, but felt it deserved a proper review, so, here we go…
The Knowing is a fantastic novel, with a lot of different threads weaving through it. The main story follows the adventures of Janey – a young musician trying to sort her life out, dealing with her romantic issues and trying to make sense of her ancestral baggage. Janey’s ancestral baggage is however, far bigger and more dramatic than most of us have to contend with. Janey is also dealing with unprocessed grief from a tragedy of some years before, and with a psychic gift that she doesn’t really want. So, this thread of the narrative is modern, contains modern romance and magical realism elements, and is an engaging tale of personal discovery, healing, growth, friendship and coming into your own power.
Janey’s ancestral baggage gives us the second major thread. The main character works her way back along her female line of descent, discovering the tales that have shaped her family down the centuries, and the influence her ancestors have had on her. There’s a wealth of history here, especially the kind of women’s history that doesn’t normally get much attention. It covers lives of wealth and privilege alongside lives of graft and poverty.
Janey’s ancestral line reaches back to Robert Kirk – a historical figure and the author of The Secret Commonwealth – a key text on the folklore of faeries. Kevan Manwaring has skilfully woven the known history of Kirk and the speculations about him into this tale, breathing life into a very strange piece of history. But he doesn’t stop there, because the landscape Kirk came from is also the landscape of Tam Lin and Thomas the Rhymer – two of the most famous faerie stories out there. Out of the faerie folklore comes a third narrative thread that is steeped in tradition but also full of fantasy and comes as a powerful contrast to Janey’s magical realism narrative.
I’ve read this book twice now, in different orders, and I loved it both times. It is rich and rewarding, highly imaginative, and totally engaging.
Find The Knowing here – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Knowing-Fantasy-Kevan-Manwaring-ebook/dp/B06XKKFGFV/