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The Stolen Child

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  9,926 Ratings  ·  1,334 Reviews
"I am a changeling-a word that describes within its own name what we are bound and intended to do. We kidnap a human child and replace him or her with one of our own. . . ."The double story of Henry Day begins in 1949, when he is kidnapped at age seven by a band of wild childlike beings who live in an ancient, secret community in the forest. The changelings rename their ca ...more
Hardcover, 327 pages
Published May 9th 2006 by Nan A. Talese (first published 2006)
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Popful Frost It depends on what you'd let your daughter read.

There is swearing, and there's a sex scene that goes awry (as I mentioned below Risa Fey's comment).…more
It depends on what you'd let your daughter read.

There is swearing, and there's a sex scene that goes awry (as I mentioned below Risa Fey's comment). It's not terribly graphic, though. If your kid has ever seen an R-Rated film of any kind, there's nothing in here that will shock them.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 09, 2008 Tung rated it it was amazing
I don’t disguise that I’m a big geek, especially when science fiction is concerned. My Star Wars and Lord of the Rings (and Spiderman and X-Men and Batman and . . .) movie obsessions attest to my geekiness. So it is no surprise to anyone that I spent two or three years as a teenager reading only fantasy fiction. I literally read every fantasy fiction book our local library had on its shelves. It happens to be why the Harry Potter series drives me to the brink of rage: people think those awful ex ...more
Jan 14, 2008 Nancy rated it it was amazing
The Stolen Child is a wonderful first novel told from the perspective of Henry Day, who was kidnapped by changelings as a child, and from the changeling who kidnapped Henry. The ancient changeling legend is woven into this very modern story and as the book progresses, the lives of Henry Day and the changeling who assumed his life gradually become intertwined. More than a fairy tale, this is a story about loss, loneliness, love, and finally acceptance. Highly recommended.
Jun 21, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it
Feeling ignored and tired of his infant twin sisters getting all of the attention, young Henry Day decided to run away one day in the 1940's. Henry never returned home; in fact, he ceased to exist, but no one noticed. Why? Henry was abducted by the hobgoblins who lived in the nearby forest and a changeling was left in his place--a changeling who had been studying everything about Henry and knew how to mimic him so perfectly that no one could tell the difference. The Stolen Child follows the boy ...more
Jan 25, 2009 Kerry rated it it was ok
I am a big fan of literature that retell or reconfigure old myths and fairy tales especially if the author can bring it into a modern setting and so I really liked the concept of The Stolen Child, a modern adaptation of the changling myth in which the fairies steal away a human child and replace it with one of their own. With all this to its credit, I should have enjoyed this book more than I did.

The Stolen Child is based on the poem by Yeats where the fairies lure a human child away from the ca
Jun 12, 2007 Brooke rated it liked it
Recommends it for: contemporary fairy tale fans
Shelves: own, fantasy
The Stolen Child, which takes its name and inspiration from the Yeats poem, tells the story of two characters: Aniday is a human child who is stolen by changelings and lives in their world, and Henry Day is the changeling who takes his place and grows up in the real world. Both spend the next few decades struggling with their identities, as neither is at peace with the change.

The format is interesting; every other chapter flips between the two narrators. Both speak in the first person, but it is
Dec 11, 2008 Minakshi rated it really liked it
This is a strange, sad and beautiful novel inspired by W.B. Yeats poem "The Stolen Child" (1889) about chageling faeries. I vaguely remember reading about the Irish myths when I was younger. Interestingly, the novel touches on rational explanations for changelings: "failure to thrive," physical deformities, or mental illness in children. But Donohue's novel is about loneliness, the search for identity and belonging.

There are two narrators telling two intertwined stories - one adult trying to re
Aug 04, 2009 Whitaker rated it it was ok
Remember that film Prelude to a Kiss? Meg Ryan gets kissed by an old man, and they swap bodies. She's stuck in his decrepit aging body and he's in her young lithe one. This book is Meg Ryan after the switcheroo.

The book looks like a pretty, fluffy urban fantasy: It is after all a story of a fairy changeling who switches places with a young boy. The changeling becomes Henry Day and grows up in his place; the young boy loses his name and becomes Aniday. But that's only its Meg Ryan surface. Insid
Nov 24, 2008 Tim marked it as did-not-finish
It's probably not really the book's fault -- the writing wasn't bad, even if it didn't do a good job of grabbing me -- but I just couldn't get into this one. I kept it on my shelf at work for months, but always found something else to read instead. Now that I'm really into the book I'm currently reading on my lunch breaks and have another queued up, I figured it was time to throw in the towel on this one.

I feel a little guilty about it, and am not sure I gave it a really fair chance. If anyone e
Feb 20, 2010 Melanie rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-i-own
I really liked the premise; fairies steal forlorn, lonely children and replace them with themselves. The stolen children don't die, they become fairies who then have to wait hundreds of years to repeat the process. Every other chapter is told by the stolen child and then his replacement over many years of their lives. All-in-all I enjoyed this but it was a bit of a slow mover, took me a couple of weeks to finish. This is the author's debut so I would be willing to read more of his work as he hon ...more
Dec 27, 2007 Francine rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Joy Macpherson, John McPartland
Shelves: favorites, modern-lit
What a FABULOUS book - great narrative, beautifully written, utterly captivating, a highly intelligent novel. After reading that abysmal Ken Follett book (Pillars of the Earth), I really felt like I needed something to cleanse me of that dross. Since every review I read about this book pointed towards the positive, I gave it a shot. And what a surprise - I was so completely drawn to it that I finished it in 2 days. I couldn't put it down. In fact, I didn't want it to end. I kept going back to ce ...more
Jul 11, 2007 Irishcoda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy books that are "different" and tell the story well. The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue is one of those books. It's the changeling story, a tale that is not new or different at all. Henry Day, a 7 year old boy, runs away from home one day and goes into the woods. He falls asleep and awakens to find himself being kidnapped by a troup of faeries that call him "Aniday". Meanwhile, another child--one who used to be a faery and has now molded his features to match Henry's exactly--goes " ...more
Nov 06, 2007 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

When I told friends that I was reading a fantastic novel about hobgoblins who steal children and replace the kidnapped kids with members of their own tribe, I got what you might expect -- that's creepy. Or, really?

But it's true. This book, which I had snagged based on good reviews and only picked up recently, is a marvel. Set in the Pittsburgh area, it tells the story of Henry Day, a grade school boy who is none too sure he likes having younger twin sisters on the day he decides to "run away." U
Here as a ring.
Very strange book... not quite sure why I didn't really enjoy it as much as I thought I would. While I was reading it I was intrigued by the fairy tale for adults aspect, but that isn't what would bother me - if anything I felt it didn't go far enough. The switching between the two characters chapter after chapter was effective, but perhaps due to the amnesia they suffered from, everything seemed to stay very superficial and hazy. Even the dramatic events and discoveries (the abdu
Amber Scaife
Mar 19, 2017 Amber Scaife rated it really liked it
Follows the lives of a changeling and the child whose place the changeling took, in alternating chapters.
I enjoyed this one a good deal, although I don't think it will stay with me for long. The stories were well constructed, and nicely tied together, but it seemed to drag along in a few places.
Feb 22, 2008 El rated it it was amazing
An alternate coming-of-age novel, The Stolen Child is a fairy tale for adults. Henry Day runs away at a young age and finds himself abducted by hobgoblins in the woods near his home. In his place returns a changeling, one of the hobgoblins who has waited his turn for centuries in order to live as a real child, to grow up. Henry Day, in the meantime, is brought into the hobgoblins' world and becomes one of them. The stories of the real Henry-Day-turned-hobgoblin (renamed Aniday) and hobgoblin-tur ...more
Oct 21, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2006
Keith Donohue’s debut novel The Stolen Child has generated a lot of praise and interest in the publishing community. After hearing the near unanimous praise for the novel, I was intrigued enough to pick it up and give it a try myself.

And was pleasantly surprised by the story.

The Stolen Child is a fairy tale for adults about two boys, both kidnapped by hobgoblins. The hobgoblins will target and kidnap a child, taking him or her into their community (think the Lost Boys from Peter Pan) who live in
Jul 24, 2007 Lola rated it really liked it

What an unexpected read. I can't even remember what i was expecting when i was first intrigued by it on amazon's urging that i would love it based on another book i bought a while ago. But what i found inside its pages was not that. And at first i was disappointed because i just could not get into it, breaking into the first 50 pages was a back and forth struggle between excitement and boredom, but now that i have finished it and go back to look through it again i cannot f
Jun 09, 2007 Sammy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: b-the-good
I hope that Donohue writes more novels after this one because if they are as unique and well-written as The Stolen Child I will be first in line to read them. With The Stolen Child being his first novel Donohue definitely does not burst quietly on to the scene. The only problem he may encounter for any future novels is that he now has set the bar pretty high for himself now. A problem not uncommon in the writing world.

What drew me to this book was the unique storyline and I was not disappointed.
Feb 15, 2008 doreen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of fairytales and good fiction
I read this book all in pretty much one day, which is a feat considering work and regular day-to-day life. It's been a while since I had done that, and I have yet to have been so engrossed in a book as I was with The Stolen Child.

I had found out about the novel on NPR, and it intrigued me, so I borrowed it from the library and pretty much devoured it on sight.

Since we have two viewpoints and two stories to tell, although they both are intertwined, I couldn't help but develop a favourite between
Jenny Clark
May 11, 2015 Jenny Clark rated it liked it
Shelves: fairy-tale
Spoilers as always

I enjoyed how intertwined the storys were, like with Anaday winding up with McInes compositon book and Henry meeting McInes as an adult. All the characters are very flat, they just live thier lifes with no reasons for anything. If Igel did not want to switch, why did he not just say so and let the next changling go? I despised Beka, and then all of a sudden he stops being a womanizer. Yes, two of the four girls disapeared but he just stuck with Onions. No reasons. No part of t
Shayla Perreault
Oct 10, 2014 Shayla Perreault rated it really liked it
Complex, and worth reading twice. Waffling between 4 and 5 stars because normally I don't go for the mood and feelings elicited by this book. He magically recreates some of the terror, rage, grief and despair of childhood but cocooned in fantasy and with such an absorbing plot and characters that you can wolf it down without self-analysis. It's unsettling and it would easily lead to insight. Five stars I'll give if a book changed my life or world view. I'm still mulling this one over, and it may ...more
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
Jun 06, 2008 colleen the convivial curmudgeon rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, loathed
I don't exactly know what I was expecting from this book - perhaps something more along the tropes of fantasy that I am used to... certainly not this psycho-drama with a thin veneer of fantasy...

I don't really understand how this book relates to the poem from whence its name comes aside from the obvious - yes, the boy is a changeling. But the poem has such promise for the faery world, at least I always thought it did - afterall, the faeries are taking the child away from a world full of weeping
I picked this book up because faeries, occasionally referred to as hobgoblins by the main characters, played a very major role in the novel. If you were thinking this was going to be some fun fantasy filled story, I suggest you step back, because the fantasy in this novel is very minimal, almost non-existent.

The story is told through alternating chapters from the first povs of Henry Day and Aniday. It’s a very slow and subtle progression from childhood to adulthood and each of them had their own
Ana Luisa
Oct 14, 2014 Ana Luisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Um livro demasiado intrigante...Quem sou eu? Qual a minha verdadeira identidade? Identifica-mo-nos pelo nome que nos atribuíram, pela família e cultura que dizem ser a nossa... mas e se isso não for verdade?
Quem seria eu se tivesse sido educado por outras pessoas?
Este livro aparentemente confuso coloca-nos 2 questões importantes inerentes aos 2 protagonista: o trasgo que tem medo de ser descoberto e procura a sua verdadeira identidade e o verdadeiro Henry que não quer esquecer as suas raízes.
Nov 01, 2010 Mafi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, 2012, pt
Este livro conta a história de uma criança roubada. Henry Day que um dia foge de casa é raptado por trasgos (nao gosto do nome bah) que são umas fadas, uns seres fantásticos, que roubam a vida desta e de tantas outras crianças para viverem no lugar delas. Henry Day é uma dessas crianças que tem sua vida roubada e é rapidamente baptizado de Aniday.

O livro é contado de dois diferentes pontos de vista, Henry Day, o trasgo que assumiu o corpo da criança roubada e conta o seu dia-a-dia, agora numa no
Colleen Lynch
Jul 04, 2010 Colleen Lynch rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book - so much so that I emailed the author after I finished and told him that he inspired me to become a writer. That's not necessarily true (i always wanted to be a writer) but his book affected me in a way that I literally couldn't think of anything else for the next couple days once I was done, and it was so overwhelming I had to find a way to contact him. He contacted me back and told me not to give up on my dream of being a writer, and that I should major in English ...more
Jul 13, 2009 Kelly rated it liked it
Light, tangy and juicy like the most perfect wild tangerine plucked in the high of summer, The Stolen Child shines brightly in it's readers hearts. the adventures of a certain Henry Day turns into withdrawals from his family after being captured by the faerie folk. Now, as Aniday, he learns the way of life for the rest of his kind and he gradually becomes accustomed to his surroundings. Meanwhile, the fake Henry Day lives out the real ones life, enjoying almost every minute of it. Fascinating an ...more
Sep 11, 2007 Joyce rated it it was ok
I'm not a big fan of fantasy, but I was intrigued by the premise of this book: child-like creatures swap places with children. This examines two such creatures/children. A changeling, once a little boy named Gustav, decides to swap places with 7-year-old Henry Day in a place that appears to be Pennsylvania in the late 1940s. The story, told by both boys in alternating chapters follows the next 30-some years of their lives. The novel never really grabbed me and made me care about either character ...more
Jun 24, 2007 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-love
7 year old Henry Day runs away from home, hides in a hollow tree and is taken by changelings. He becomes Aniday and the changeling who takes his place becomes Henry. The book follows both their stories, skillfully interwoven, over the years. The new Henry has memories of his first human life, of playing the piano, and insists on taking lessons, showing tremendous talent from the beginning. Aniday quickly forgets his life as Henry, and struggles to learn who he was before he was taken. A wonderfu ...more
Aug 10, 2009 Shanon rated it really liked it
This was an interesting story about a changeling and the life he stole from a young boy. It’s also about the young boy and his new life as a changeling. I enjoyed the folk lore behind it immensely. Both boys, the changeling and the human, narrate this book alternating chapters. It was fascinating to watch the progression of both boys. I don’t know what I expected from the ending but I found it to be a bit lacking – with no real climax.
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Endicott Mythic F...: This topic has been closed to new comments. The Stolen Child - Who'd Reading? / Discussion 11 24 Feb 25, 2016 09:25AM  
What exactly do you think Henry's mother had 'Known all along?' 4 45 Jun 27, 2014 08:43PM  
Does this book mess you up? 3 28 Mar 12, 2014 05:50AM  
Too much for a 12 year old? 5 71 Feb 19, 2013 06:07AM  
What's The Name o...: Changeling children [s] 6 54 Nov 30, 2011 06:07PM  
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Keith Donohue is an American novelist. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he earned his B.A. and M.A. from Duquesne University and his Ph.D. in English from The Catholic University of America.

Currently he is Director of Communications for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the grant-making arm of the U. S. National Archives in Washington, DC. Until 1998 he worke
More about Keith Donohue...

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“As I let go of the past, the past let go of me. ” 29 likes
“I am gone and am not coming back, but I remember everything.” 15 likes
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