I love fairy tales retold from the point of view of one of the minor characters, which mean I really enjoyed this story. Dreadfully and deliciously ghoulish, told in tight, picturesque paragraphs with clean and vivid language, there was something to like every step of the way.
This story of Jack, born to a mother who could not care for him and so made a compact with Tom Scratch, an exchange of her child’s future for his life, and of Marjorie Hart, the only one who could remove the chains that bound Jack, is told in a “forsoothly” sort of voice to enhance its old-fashioned, old-world, old-timey feel. At times this works for me, while at other times it simply ends up either over-written (too many words for too little feeling or action) or under-written (leaving me uncertain what just happened).
The story is quite complex, so having the narrative style interfere with it, as it did for me, meant I got to the end still unsure quite how it hung together, and wishing that I had understood it better. This might be one to reread.