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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Shh! Can you keep a secret?

In wild medieval Britain thirteen-year-old Wynn Hoppringle has a big secret of the smallest kind. She has discovered a miniature village hidden close to her family home of Smailholm Tower. When tales of merciless Border raiders reach the small folk, they realise they are in danger and must seek a cure to their strange predicament. Can Wynn help h
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published January 28th 2020 by Matador
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  74 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 5000-2020
I would have loved this book when I was 10 or 11 years old. It is full of small people reminiscent of The Borrowers, and it is set in historical times and the main character is a girl. All things I enjoyed in my books back then.

For my adult self it was all just a little bit too cute, but the book was not written for me, and I am sure it will appeal greatly to its middle school readership target. I loved the idea of those little people busy in their tiny country town under the brambles. I was amu
Bookphenomena (Micky)
3.5 - 4 stars

Smailholm was an engaging middle-grade fantasy that was easy to read and fun to enjoy. It is a historical fantasy with olde-worlde language in small parts. I enjoyed the setting of Scotland, the differences between the haves and the have-nots and of course the Lilliput/Borrowers context of little people in a little land.

There were two protagonists in this story, a 13-year old girl called Wynn who was noblewomen-to-be living in Smailholm Tower and then short chapter interludes from
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written.
Very imaginative.
Unexpected outcome.
Deeper (sad, but realistic) meaning.
Loved the two perspectives.
Definitely anticipating the next book.
Charles Edwards-Freshwater
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
An enchanting middle grade fantasy book that combines some of the best bits of other fantasy books such as The Borrowers and The Hobbit whilst still adding a delicious, unique core of good characters and fantastic settings.

Set in the wilds of Scotland and featuring a number of real-life locations, the plot follows Anne (Wynn) as she deals not only with trying to break the curse of a miniature village nearby to the tower she calls home, but also the trials of being a girl of noble birth in a time
Roxanne Abercrombie
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A strong fantasy debut from a promising new author.

Smailholm is rich with all the right fantasy elements and magical peoples to ensure a captivating read. All without falling into cliched storylines.

In Wynn we have an engaging and relatable protagonist, whilst in Deablin and the king quog we have refreshingly two-dimensional antagonists.

Williams creates a page-turning pace throughout. Minor gripes aside, the story is well-edited, highly readable, and free from the dull filler content that so
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
3.5 stars
This was a really fun first book. I really enjoyed the whole idea of the quest Wynn, Jimmy, Jenny, Fie and Vargo went on. It was neat to kind of imagine the world being a tiny person. It reminded me of The Borrowers.
There weren't any characters I disliked. I loved Wynn's free spirit and dedication to her friends. I think she was my favorite character (aside from Vargo, but who doesn't like the dog the best). I also really liked Jenny. Her strength and determination were so great.
I think
Joanne Taylor
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Smailholm tells the story of 13 year old Wynn Hoppringle. She has a big secret of the smallest kind and has discovered a miniature village beneath her family home of Smailholm. With danger close by Wynn must help her tiny friends by finding a cure to the curse and join them on a journey to Rubers Law, a fire mountain, home to the scheming bat-like quogs.

I purchased the book for my niece and we read it together. We enjoyed the fast pace plot and heartwarming setting of Smailholm. The characters t
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
A digitized ARC of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the work in any way.


Can you keep a secret? Trust me, it's harder than it may seem...

All in all, Smailholm is quite a charming middle grade book, though it definitely has its flaws. The richly re-imagined Scottish lore and history were quaintly appealing and beautifully conveyed, and the concept of the story was intriguing. However, it was diffic
Caitlin Morris
Mar 25, 2020 rated it did not like it
Full disclosure, I haven’t quite finished this yet, but the last 60 pages aren’t going to change my thoughts on it. I bought it because I grew up in Smailholm (a tiny village that even a lot of Borderers don’t really know exists), so obviously had to have a book named for it. The premise could have made for a fun historical fantasy for older kids/young teens, and I love a good kids book so have no problem with reading something aimed at that age bracket. But this is not a good kids book – it rea ...more
Gullivers Travels meets the Borrowers meets Alice in Wonderland meets The Hobbit

13-yo Anne-Wynn Hoppringle (otherwise known as Wynn) is the middle child to the Laird of Smailholm Tower. Adventurous and independent, she discovers a miniature village hidden in the brambles and bracken away from the tower, descendants of a forgotten curse against the clans of Smailholm. When border raiders discover the existence of the tiny folk, a small band of heroes must brave the wider world to revoke the curse
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Set in Scotland in 1565, Smailholm tells the story of Wynn, daughter of Laird and Lady Hoppringle, who has a very big secret. She has discovered a miniature village living under the brambles near her family home, Smailholm tower. With border raiders nearby, the small folk are in danger and need Wynn to help them break the curse that has reduced them to their current size. Wynn also faces dangers of her own - the scheming plans of her uncle who would see her sent to court to be married, which is ...more
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was so enjoyable. The only thing that bothered me were some very random events. And I missed a hell lot of commas.
3.5 stars

This was a creative story inspired by Scottish history and lore about a girl named Anne-Wynn Hopringle, the second of 3 daughters of a Scottish Laird. She discovers a village of tiny people and becomes best friends with Jimmy, one of the lads in the village. There were a lot of things I liked about this story including the description of the little people, her dog, and the adventure they took to try to break the curse put on the little people. I had trouble with the Deablin sections, wh
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Oh I so wanted to love this book, the premise and cover spoke to me in the same way classic books from my childhood did (particularly the Hobbit), but I couldn’t fully get into the book.

The good: The story has great potential and is unique compared to other YA books currently available. I adored the description of the tiny village and its pastoral inhabitants. It’s obvious the author has done their research on the culture and customs of 1500s Scotland and can evoke the time beautifully. I could
Lelia Taylor
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: full-reviews
What a charming little tale this is! As is fitting with a fantasy set in old Britain, Scotland to be exact, we don’t ever entirely understand what’s going on in this land of wee folk but it’s an adventure, an immersion into the wild country that will eventually become polished and almost mundane.

Wynn is a curious, lively girl whose future is preordained by her position and her life changes when she encounters these tiny people who have been living under an old curse. They’re not the faeries we m
N's Reviews
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The author C.L. Williams kindly sent me a free arc of Smailholm and I am so happy to have read this wonderful book!

The book is beautiful and I fell in love with the cover as soon as I saw it. I was pleasantly surprised to see a map and illustrations throughout the book and thought they complemented the story well.

Smailholm is described as "The Borrowers meets The Hobbit," and this, in my opinion, is accurate. I greatly enjoyed the journey of our young protagonist, Wynn, to save her friends who a
Melissa Anderson
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A delightful middle grade novel. The setting, Scottish Borders, the year 1565. The village of Smailholm resides out on the moors of Smailholm tower, but it is not a normal village. Smailholm is in miniature. The people, animals, homes, everything small. A curse had been placed upon these people, shrinking down their grandparents and creating this diminutive world. Thirteen year old Wynn, is special. A lady of Smailholm tower, she can see see the villagers of Smailholm. She has become friends wit ...more
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such a delightful middle grade fantasy, full of lovely characters and wonderful, often funny or quirky details. Reminiscent of the Borrowers for obvious reasons.
Mary Bronson
Thanks to Netgalley for allowing me an ARC copy for an honest review of my own opinion.

I thought this was such a great book. Once I got started it was hard to put down. I liked how this is a great mixture of historical fiction with a touch of fantasy thrown in. This book reminds me of Gulliver's travels but with a female main character. I like how Wynn is a "giant" and the town she discovers was cursed and turned into small people. I thought this story was full of adventure and I liked how it h
Meaghan Hurn
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
An engaging fantasy with a curse, friendship, and magical adventures. C.L. Williams' ability to build enthralling worlds abounds in this novel. She's added to it even more by creating a hybrid of real and fictitious locations within the book and that is one of the many details that sets this novel apart from its competition.

This was a creative story inspired by Scottish history and lore about a girl named Anne-Wynn Hopringle, the second of 3 daughters of a Scottish Laird. If you're looking for a
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have just received this book and opening it with my son was magical. The packaging itself was exciting to open and already starts to set the scene for the story within. My son likes to write short stories and he said, after one chapter, that he is inspired by it. He can’t wait to show it to his teacher tomorrow. We are both looking forward to reading the rest of the story. Thank you C L Williams, we are readers of magic!
gwendalyn _books_
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excited for this book release
Howard Miles
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My daughter and I both really enjoyed it. Very much in the adventure mould of Tolkien. If you enjoyed The Hobbit you will enjoy Smailholm!
Cuppa Books
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully descriptive and atmospheric debut, middle grade fantasy. We follow, noble born, Wynn as she tries to help save the miniature inhabitants of Smailholm; facing dangers and forging friendships along the way. C.L Williams weaves a wonderful story which feels original but with a familiar folkloric tone and introduces us to an imaginitive array of fantastical creatures.

I would say this is perhaps better suited to the upper end of middle grade as there is a small romance element.
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Borrowers and Alice in Wonderland meet LOTR in 16th century Scotland.

I loved this charming middle grade fantasy! Let’s start with the cover! The beautiful clothbound hardback is adorned with lovely illustrations and gold letters. The book contains several gorgeous illustrations, including a fantastic map. The story was adorable and I truly enjoyed the adventure laced with fantasy and magic. I was blown away by the vivid details when it came to character description and the world building. T
Lucia Pereira
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I won this book on an Instagram giveaway and I am so happy I did! I gave up on fantasy books a long time ago because I thought new ideas and forms of keeping me reading non-stop were over but then, I read Smailholm.
First of all, I would have loved to read this story when I was little but now, I find it so sweet and with so many realistic things (when there are no fantastic creatures) that I was sharing all little Wynn emotions while reading them.
Second of all, I love where and when this story t
Sydney Mann
Jul 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Smailholm is a story about a wee village with wee people who have been cursed. It’s also about a troubled woman who has been banished, a woman who turns out to be the MC’s, Wynn’s, grandmother. In one sense, it is an adventure story, with the MC attempting to save the small village, but the tone changes with the ramblings of the mad grandmother interspersed throughout the book. For this reason, the story was a bit confusing to me, as it wavered between a mostly light-hearted adventure fit for ch ...more
May 11, 2020 rated it liked it
I had high hopes for this book and enjoyed the premise and setting but the story itself drags at times and would have benefited from further editing. This is a good start to a series but not one that I’m dying to continue, so I’m likely to pursue other books first. The pictures are gorgeous, the characters are like able (mostly, there’s some sexist remarks that make some of the plot awkward). The lore created with the small folk, moon folk, and quags is the most interesting aspect of this story, ...more
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I absolutely loved reading this story! It felt to me like Tolkien for children. It has a sort of fellowship, it has a journey and a quest. But most of all there is friendship and bravery, and the fact that you can always find courage even when you are so very small... It also tackles the concept of greed, just like Thorin and his ancestors succumbed to. It is a wonderful adventure... where snails are the size of your horse!
This felt different than most stories, though I cannot pinpoint why that is. I don't think many of my 5th graders would read it. The old language in Deablin's chapters will hinder young readers, possibly. I would have liked clearer details of several events. ...more
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