Ivory Apples

Lisa Goldstein

“A contemporary fantasy that is wholly original. I want to read it again and again.”—Ellen Klages. Ivy and her sisters have a secret: their reclusive Great-Aunt is actually Adela Martin, magical author of the fantasy classic, Ivory Apples. Generations of obsessive fans have searched for Adela, in letters, online, and at book conventions. It is just a matter of time before one fan gets too close.


Ivory Apples

by Lisa Goldstein

ISBN: Print ISBN: 9781616962982 Digital ISBN: 9781616962999

Published: October 2019

Available Format(s): Trade Paperback and Digital


“Lisa Goldstein is the perfect, born storyteller. Her story pulls you in and wraps you round, and it is hard to think of anything else until it is over.”
—Diana Wynne Jones

Ivy and her sisters have a secret: their reclusive Great-Aunt is actually Adela Martin, inspired author of the fantasy classic, Ivory Apples. Generations of obsessive fans have searched for Adela, poring over her letters, sharing their theories online, and gathering at book conventions. It is just a matter of time before one fan gets too close.

So when the seemingly-perfect Kate Burden appears at the local park, Ivy knows that something isn’t right. Kate has charmed the entire family, but she is suspiciously curious about Ivory Apples.  And Ivy must protect what she and her Great-Aunt share: magic that is real, untamable, and—despite anyone’s desire—always prefers choosing its own vessel.

 Praise for Ivory Apples

“An absorbing fantasy about the power of art, family secrets—and obsession. Ivy and her sisters have a secret. Their Great-Aunt Maeve is actually the reclusive author Adela Madden, who wrote Ivory Apples, a book that still, many years after publication, inspires a steady stream of fan mail. And some of those fans can be obsessive. That secret only becomes more urgent for Ivy when, wandering in the woods at Maeve’s house, she stumbles upon a secret grove full of sprites, one of whom steps into her. So when a woman named Kate Burden strikes up a friendship with the girls and starts insinuating herself into their lives—and talking about how much she loves Ivory Apples—Ivy is immediately suspicious. But Kate’s intentions are far more sinister than even Ivy suspects, and Piper, the sprite living inside her, is too much an agent of chaos to help. Soon Ivy and her sisters are plunged into a nightmare, and the cost of keeping Maeve’s secret proves to be greater than they could have imagined. Goldstein (Weighing Shadows, 2015, etc.) has crafted a dark, suspenseful tale in which the power of the faery world is appealingly disruptive and dangerous. The dreamlike quality of portions of the book sometimes works to undercut the impact of genuinely traumatic events, but overall the story is gripping and unusual enough to keep the reader invested. This dark, eerie tale about the lengths people will go for a taste of magic will keep readers guessing until the end.”

 “It’s great, I loved it, you will also love it.”

Ivory Apples is a haunting story of what a classic fantasy work can do for and to its readers and its creator; on the other, it’s a pretty wonderful, clear-eyed, and unsentimental fantasy novel entirely on its own terms, muse or no muse.”
—Gary K. Wolfe, Locus

Ivory Apples is like a set of Russian Matryoshka dolls: stories within stories within stories within stories that keep you reading all the way to the bottom. I finished in eight hours and now want to read it again. What a charming book in all senses of the word.”
—Jane Yolen, author of The Emerald Circus

Ivory Apples is a legendary fantasy novel of the great-nieces of their Great-Aunt Adela, almost as celebrated and mysterious as the book itself, and the charming superfan Kate Burden—a sort of wicked Mary Poppins on the dogged hunt for hidden magic  But magic has always its own desires, far beyond any fan’s dream.”
—Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn and Summerlong.

“Neil Gaiman hasn’t written anything half as good as Ivory Apples . . . If you enjoyed books such as The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, or War for the Oaks by Emma Bull,  you’ll love Ivory Apples.”
Little Red Reviewer

“A contemporary fantasy that is wholly original. I want to read it again and again.”
—Ellen Klages, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Passing Strange

“A powerful fairy tale set without compromise in the modern world—the characters are convincingly real, and the magic is genuinely enchanting and perilous.”
—Tim Powers, author of Alternate Routes and Down and Out in Purgatory

“Lisa Goldstein’s work invariably surprises and inspires me. Ivory Apples is no exception. A vivid tale of magic and its consequences, filled with beauty and terror. Would you like a muse of your own? Really? Be careful what you wish for.”
—Pat Murphy, author of The Wild Girls

 “In the first pages of Lisa Goldstein’s wonderful new book, a potent but troublesome  ‘sprite’ has taken up dwelling in the feisty main character, Ivy. That sprite is in Lisa Goldstein as well, and the two of them have created a fine, swift, effervescent fantasy of the kind that’s for young folks but that adults too will read, from now on.”
—John Crowley, author of Ka and Little, Big

“So many contemporary fantasists have learned from Lisa Goldstein’s weird, wise, humane and graceful example; her books comprise the best sort of magic school. Now, in Ivory Apples, she leads us deep into a wondrous grove that only she could scry. Goldstein is a true enchanter.”
—Andy Duncan, author of An Agent of Utopia

“Lisa Goldstein is writing some of the most exciting fantasy out there. Ivory Apples is terrific.”
—Jo Walton, author of Among Others and Lent

“[T]his is a strong entry into the mysterious magical book genre. A-/B+.”

“Lisa Goldstein’s glimpse into the dark secrets of creativity casts a lingering spell on the reader that no counter-spell can completely dispel.”
Bookshine and Readbows

About the Author

Lisa Goldstein has published eleven novels and two short fiction collections, including Dark Cities Underground, The Alchemist’s Door, Weighing Shadows, The Uncertain Places and Travellers in Magic. Her novel, The Red Magician, won the American Book Award, and she has been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. She has published dozens of short stories in such magazines as Interzone and Asimov’s Science Fiction, and in anthologies, including The Norton Book of Science Fiction and The Year’s Best Fantasy. Goldstein has published two fantasy novels under the name Isabel Glass and is a founding member of the women’s speculative fiction co-operative the Brazen Hussies. She lives in Oakland, California.

Praise for Lisa Goldstein

“She has given us the kind of magic and adventure that once upon a time made us look for secret panels in the halls of wardrobes or brush our teeth with a book held in front of our eyes, because we couldn’t bear to put it down.”
The New Yorker

“Lisa Goldstein is the perfect, born storyteller. Her story pulls you in and wraps you round, and it is hard to think of anything else until it is over.”
—Diana Wynne Jones

“Lisa Goldstein’s work deserves to be celebrated along with that of Alice Walker and Shirley Jackson.”
—Lucius Shepard, author of Green Eyes

“ A new novel from [Goldstein] is always a cause for celebration.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“[Goldstein] never writes the same type of story twice, and she never disappoints.”
—Mark Graham, Denver Rocky Mountain News

Praise for The Uncertain Places

“An exquisitely beautiful, eerily compelling modern fairy tale.”
Library Journal, starred review

The Uncertain Places continued to surprise me at every page and, as a writer, filled me with raw, disgraceful envy: Boy I wish I’d thought of this one….”
—Peter S. Beagle, author of A Fine & Private Place and Sleight of Hand

“Lisa Goldstein is back and at the top of her game.”
Shelf Awareness

The Uncertain Places is one of those delightful books that are worth the wait. It combines all the things that I like best about Goldstein’s work: great, believable characters; a well-defined setting (this time it’s 1970s Berkeley); and subtle magic that plays by the rules.”
—Charles de Lint, Fantasy & Science Fiction

“Deeply absorbing.”
Paper Knife

“Goldstein’s complex and ingenious plot transplants the forest realm of European folktale, where witches grant wishes with strings attached and you’d better be careful which frog you kiss, into the sun-drenched hills of Northern California in the 1970s—and beyond.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin

“This entrancing book perfectly captures the subconscious logic of fairy tales—you’ll find yourself believing it all and wishing you could go to these places yourself, with all their wonders and perils.”
—Tim Powers, author of The Stress of Her Regard and The Bible Repairman and Other Stories

“It’s fitting that a spider is the symbol of the elf-struck family in this book, because Lisa Goldstein’s prose is more than a little like a spider’s web: so deceptively simple that you could take it for granted until the angle of light changes and its full beauty is suddenly revealed.”
—Tad Williams, author of Tailchaser’s Song

“From Lisa Goldstein, one of our most subtle and enduring writers, comes this exquisite interweaving of fairy tale and modern life. The Uncertain Places demonstrates that love and the stuff of legends are sometimes indistinguishable and share the same dark bed.”
—Lucius Shepard

“A gripping story that twists with compelling dream logic; Goldstein’s fairy-tale family radiate believable unreality, and the faerie realm contained herein evinces the perfect mix of terror and attraction. Start reading this at your peril; once I did, I couldn’t stop until I was done.”
—Cory Doctorow, author of Content and Context

“Goldstein fearlessly rubs the dreamlike logic of fairy tales up against stark realism, and each one makes the other more real.”

“It’s an engaging look at Northern California in the ’70s by way of the Brothers Grimm…a shrewd and satisfying venture down the crooked paths and unpredictable byways of the Otherworld.”
—Patricia A. McKillip, author of Wonders of the Invisible World

Visit the Lisa Goldstein website.