Sunday 28 May 2023

The Silver Road

 by Sinéad O'Hart;  


The Silver Road, small book cover. A huge stag stands on a silver track. Two children ride on its back. There are trees either side and white falling leaves. The title is in white and laid out as though the words are wade of or entwined by vines. The book's cover is in muted green, blue and purple which defines the ground and trees. There seems to be a bluepurple night sky behind the stag. The books tag line reads: As the old magic fades, a new hope will rise.


An Adventure Book Review by Erin the Literary Cat©, International Book Reviewer.

Hello, and welcome to my weekend Book Review featuring Adventures in Middle-Grade Fiction. If you're here for the selfie, please scroll down!
Our book review this week is from the brilliant Irish writer, Sinéad O'Hart.  As you may recall, we reviewed her recently released book, The Time Tider, a few weeks back. This adventure is quite different, though no less exciting for the younger reader. 
So, without further ado, gather your nearest and dearest together beside a fire, have a hot drink to hand, and settle in for an adventure into myth and legend. 


The Silver Road, large book cover image. A huge stag stands on a silver track. Two children ride on its back. There are trees either side and white falling leaves. The title is in white and laid out as though the words are wade of or entwined by vines. The book's cover is in muted green, blue and purple which defines the ground and trees. There seems to be a blue purple night sky behind the stag. The books tag line reads: As the old magic fades, a new hope will rise.


AUTHOR: Sinéad O'Hart


Cover art by: Manuel Šumberac


Published by: Bonnier Books UK. 


Imprint: Piccadilly Press.


Publication date for the paperback:  28 September 2023


Paperback ISBN:   978 - 1800 785 090


Cover price for Paperback £7.35

Kindle Price: £4.74


Pages: 192


Age range: 8 upwards

Any dogs or cats? A very much Not Cat kind of cat called Catshee. More on that in the story.




Some as to plot direction and characters.



Thank you to... 


We are exceedingly grateful to Sinéad, Bonnier Books/Piccadilly Press Publishers and NetGalley for the privilege of getting to Read & Review this exciting new release before publication. 

As ever, our views are our own, and we only share reviews of books we have bought, been given as gifts, or received in exchange for an impartial review. 

First and foremost, the books we review are those we like and feel our global readers deserve to know about and that we hope they, their children, friends, and students will enjoy.



The plot


Ireland is a land of mystery, magic, legend and myth. Where time holds the truth of gods, witches, giants and all manner of creatures that helped shape their past and traditions. But the magic wanes when the magic is no longer passed down through tales, recalled around the fireside and man's destruction of the land and old ways through 'progress'. Dangerously so, and enough that something begins to awaken from deep within the earth, aided by a witch. 


In the (fictional) town of Carriganawn, Young Rose Darke lives with her parents and twin younger brothers. Late one night, hearing a strange sound outside, she ventures into the garden, armed only with her mother's best wooden spoon. 


Before her, a large ice giant forms from the falling hail. Voiceless, it gestures she should take a reddish, oval stone from its grasp. Having done so, the strange yet unthreatening giant leaps into the sky and is gone, swallowed into a peculiar darkness. 


Confused, Rose returns to bed and thinks it is a dream. But waking to find the stone is real, along with her mother's wrath for ruining her spoon, she wonders what is going on? 


Rose won a full scholarship to a posh Grammar School but comes from a poorer but good family who happens to live on a council estate on the other side of town. This fact is made clear by Emer, a girl in her year who makes her life less than good. Unfortunately, Rose can't retaliate or cause a stink as her dad is employed by Emer's father. It would go badly for them all if he lost his job.


Rose takes a different way to school to avoid Emer and her friends, passing along a lesser-used road with shops. Here she finds friendship in the unlikely shape of the elderly lady, Nellie, who owns a sweet shop, and Gracie, an equally older gent who owns the cobblers shop on the opposite side of the road.


Now, the stone is known to Nellie and Gracie, who have much to share with young Rose. When she ventures into their parlour for a cup of tea and to pass some time and share her woes, she is soon shown a hidden world beyond the ordinary facade of the sweet shop. The two elderly folk are not mortals but beings from long past whose job is to protect the Silver Road, the magic network of threads that crisscross Ireland, its magical lifeblood, if you will. They also protect a large and mythical cauldron inset into a mound in the green garden beyond the back kitchen door. The cauldron can grant wishes if it so chooses.


But the adventure soon takes off as the purpose of the stone gifted by the Ice Giant is revealed to Rose. In fact, her destiny is to be a hero and wield the stone's destructive power for good.


When the stone is lost and found by Emer, things worsen, and Emer falls under its power. 


Through these events, the heatwave that is affecting the town is worsening. It seems the witch is the cause, and the heat is only a taste of the destruction to be unleashed when she awakens the monster that is her beloved and imprisoned husband. The light from his evil eye will scorch the earth. 


With the power in the Silver Road weakening because of human kinds' rape of the land and development, Nellie and Gracie's powers are weakened. 


With the stone lost and only a magical cobblers hammer in her belt, Rose sets off to stop an impending cataclysmic event and evil arising from the dead and depths of the mythology.


I have to let the reader discover what happens next, the surprises that follow, the support Rose gets from unlikely quarters, and the fights that take place. 

So, what did we think?


Mythology and legend rewoven and told for a modern younger audience with aplomb and zest worthy of the first story weavers. I dare say Tolkien would have been impressed also!


We are not great lovers of complex names or convolutions of historical epics, but thankfully this book has both a prologue that sets the scene and an appendix to enlighten us further as to characters and their place in history, or in the case of where the author has created them, their inspiration. 


The action takes off about halfway through, and I found it hard to put down, especially once the not cat becomes involved and we reach a sort of gathering of forces. 


Which all makes me think of the Lord of the Rings. The eloquence of the introduction of characters, their journey, wants and needs. Friendships and enemies. Surprises and, to a degree, heartache. 


We loved the cover, too, the relevance of which you'll discover once you read the story.

So . . . . 

Crunch time. 


A book for lovers of Irish and Celtic mythology, as well as an excellent wholesome adventure. With some environmental undertones as well as those of friendship and responsibility.


This ticks all the boxes, and I can't imagine any younger reader not wanting to read more about the actual characters that have lent themselves to this story in one shape or another and to read similar books.

Want to buy a copy?

To get a copy, please follow your own Silver Road – mindful of ogres, giants, ghosts and huge stags, down to your local independent bookshop. Plenty are out there; each shop is just waiting to serve up whatever kind of mystery, factual, magical, fun and adventure story you desire.


Sinéad O'Hart web page can be found HERE or type this:


Manuel Šumberac's web page can be found HERE or type this:


Bonnier Books web page can be found HERE or type this:


And now, the Sunday Selfie. 


We are joining Janet Blue from the Cat on My Head blog for the weekly parade of selfies from all manner of companion creatures from across the pond and around the globe. 

To go to Janet's blog selfie page, please click this LINK, or type / cut and paste

And finally, here is my selfie 🙂 🙂


Till laters!



  1. Hello Erin! That's a lovely selfie and another interesting review! We wanted to thank you so much for the book, Forgotten Garden, which arrived safely. #1 sat down with it and barely got up again until she had finished it! She really, really enjoyed it! The funny thing is that she now mainly reads books on her Kindle or phone and so she was all awkward with all those pages to turn!

    The Chans

  2. We recognised some of the elements of Irish mythology, such as the wish-granting cauldron. And we absolutely identified with your warning about the magic waning when it is no longer passed down in the tales and recalled around the fireside. This sounds like a lovely book.
    And something else that is lovely is your selfie, Beautiful ERin!

  3. I love the cover...and yes I am one of those folks that judges a book by the know first impressions are impawtant
    Hugs Cecilia

  4. Erin, your selfie is astounding, and among the best you have ever taken! The book sounds like quite a unique and exciting read. As you said, it seems like it checks all the boxes for a grand mythological adventure. Hugs to you and Mrs. H! XO

  5. That one does sound interesting and pretty magical too! Sweet Princess, your selfie is pretty magical too.

  6. Erin, Mom is way past middle grades, but really likes that this book is offering! Great selfie!

  7. Pawsome selfie! And that sounds like an interesting book!

  8. Your mama is so good to do these reviews. Reading is becoming a lost art...MERCI, your mama!!!

  9. This book has really caught my imagination and just shot to the top of my must buy list. I agree that Ireland is a magical country. My nan was Irish and I think I have inherited the love of all things Irish from her. The best holiday we ever had was when we took the road trip around western and southern Ireland, and if you remember, we had a very strange experience in one place.
    Your selfie is beautiful.

  10. That sounds like a great read...yet again! You do know how to find the good ones!

    And we think your selfie is very beauteous!

    We thank you for the book you sent us, The Lighthouse Bookshop, It will be another good read...when she has some time to actually sit down and read!

  11. What a cute selfie!!

    Thanks for commenting on my blog!


  12. I'm not sure my post was sent
    Thanks for commenting on my blog.
    I love the selfie here!!!


  13. I'm not familiar with Celtic mythology. I love learning as I read!