This book is something of an oddity, as it’s the only fiction by a man known otherwise for scholarly works mainly on ancient Greece. It’s a fairy tale written for his daughter, and beautifully illustrated by Robert Lawson for this 1934 edition, the book was originally published in 1920.
Fiona and her father, known as The Student, live on The Isle of Mist, a small island on the west coast of Scotland. Their neighbors include a mysterious old hawker, and a family who live in The Student’s larger rented ancestral home nearby, a man and his son, Fiona’s friend, known in this story as The Urchin, and currently also the home of a relative of theirs named Jeconiah, whose secret reason for being there is to search for the island’s reputed hidden treasure. Fiona and The Urchin are also searching for that treasure in places like a haunted cave, where The Urchin disappears, apparently taken by the fairies who live underground nearby. Fiona is determined to find The Urchin and get him back, and she has help from the animals of the island, but she must walk the perilous road through faery, where nothing is as it seems and danger is waiting at every wrong turn, to find him. Jeconiah is also making trouble for everyone, not caring who he hurts in his greed.
Beautifully told, a cracking good magical adventure story with fine characters and excellent illustrations. Highly recommended.