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The Stolen Child

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  11,211 ratings  ·  1,441 reviews
Inspired by the W.B. Yeats poem that tempts a child from home to the waters and the wild, The Stolen Child is a modern fairy tale narrated by the child Henry Day and his double.

On a summer night, Henry Day runs away from home and hides in a hollow tree. There he is taken by the changelings—an unaging tribe of wild children who live in darkness and in secret. They spirit hi
Hardcover, 327 pages
Published May 9th 2006 by Nan A. Talese
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Risa Fey I think it might be more for adults. (Spoiler alert) I'm only on Chapter 3, but there was what I think was two of the faeries (in the bodies of childr…moreI think it might be more for adults. (Spoiler alert) I'm only on Chapter 3, but there was what I think was two of the faeries (in the bodies of children) um...doing you-know-what in bed with each other, and that in front of the main character Henry Day. (If I'm wrong, someone correct me, that part surprised me.) I guess the idea there is, they're not really children, they're actually very old. But yeah, not very child-friendly.(less)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ever read a book which just stays with you and you think about from time to time? This is that sort of book for me. I read this book when it first came out, and was fascinated by the premise. A young boy, Henry Day, runs away from home and is stolen by changelings. The changelings ( i.e. fairies/hobgoblins) were once human children themselves. They were stolen then forced to live in the wild in a family like pack until they can find a human child and switch places with them. The Changelings chan ...more
Jan 09, 2008 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 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.
Heidi The Reader
If you must give me a name, call me hobgoblin. Or better yet, 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." pg 7, ebook.

The Stolen Child is the story of a changeling and the boy whose place he took, Henry Day.

The chapters alternate between the real Henry Day and the false Henry Day. It is a captivating story about magic, family and belonging.

"This is my confession, too long d
Jun 21, 2008 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
Jun 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: contemporary fairy tale fans
Shelves: 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
Jan 25, 2009 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
Dec 11, 2008 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
Feb 20, 2010 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 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 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
Aug 04, 2009 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 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
Wayland Smith
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've heard the myth of the changeling before-- some version of fairy that snatch away unwary children and replace them with their own fey kind. This is different, in that in alternating chapters, the child that is taken and the fae that replaces him tell their story. It's a sort of hauntingly beautiful piece with themes that include identity, belonging, love, and life's passion. In a bit sure to appeal to almost all readers, one of the favored hiding places by some of the magical creatures is a ...more
Nov 06, 2007 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
Jun 24, 2007 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
Amber Scaife
Mar 19, 2017 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 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
Jul 24, 2007 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
Oct 21, 2009 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
Jun 09, 2007 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 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
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 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
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

There seem to be a lot of different types of fantasy within the genre and not everything works for me. This one, based on a poem by Yeats and the changeling myth, certainly did.

This book was hauntingly beautiful. That’s the first thing I want to say about it. The writing flowed poetically with some deeply moving passages.

The story moved slowly and initially felt a bit sluggish. Although the pacing never increased, the rhythm felt appropriate as I continued on.

I was impressed with the
Jon Huff
Feb 17, 2012 rated it liked it
I've been captivated by this title from the moment I saw the cover. Someone give the designer a bonus. The premise was intriguing, so after much hand-wringing, I finally purchased it. The opening had me a bit worried. Since the book switches its focus between two main characters, it takes about twice as long as another novel for you to get a grasp of the main characters (especially the ones with faerie names) and for the plot to really start moving forward.

The book is a fairly easy read, but th
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Jul 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Fairies, trees, switching places, family, trust, secrets, longing to return........

Henry Day was tired of babysitting his sisters and ran into the woods after his mother insisted that he help more with them. The changelings took him that very afternoon.

The changelings steal children after watching their daily routines for about a year to see if the child is the right one for the change and if it is the life the fairy would want to live. The "stolen" child who replaces the fairy has to adapt to
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
I have had this book for a while to read and was excited to finally get to listen to it. I listened to this on audiobook, I pretty much finish every audiobook I get because I am driving anyway while I listen to them. This is one I almost didn't finish as an audiobook. It was boring and pointless.

As mentioned above I listened to this on audiobook. The audiobook was well done; there are two different narrators...one for each character. They both do a decent job of narrating. It wasn’t fantastic bu
Very well written book on the fairy tale of the Changeling. It addresses the questions of most humans about our humanity, who am I? where did I come from? Very good.

The Stolen Child
By William Butler Yeats

WHERE dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the worl
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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

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