by Rosie Andersen, Illustrations by Paul Jackson
The Lost Key
The Lost Key is a fable set in Anglo-Saxon Suffolk and is a portrayal of the inhabitants of the village of Mynda, who go about their daily work, farming the land to feed themselves, their families and community. Although set in a period of peace, it is also a time that is changeable and potentially volatile.
Leof, our young protagonist, is a complex character who, through no fault of his own, has inherited a story about himself that is so overpowering, it is in danger of overwhelming him and preventing him from living a happy and fulfilled life.
Are we able to empathise with him; do we wish him well; do we hope that he will see the error of his ways before his opinions about himself becomes too ingrained for change? Will he become a lost cause endlessly trapped in a dark underworld of constant and futile striving; will he forever be searching for approval and admiration from others in order to bolster and feed his fragile sense of self?
Elswyth, a young girl from the village, blessed with extraordinary wisdom for her years, befriends Leof. For a while, all is well and Leof experiences true happiness. But his demons are never far away, and when young Elswyth can no longer provide what Leof needs to feel good about himself he tires of her and she is discarded. But there is hope! If Leof, through going on a quest can meet and overcome his devils within, perhaps he can transform into the kind person that Elswyth believes him to be before it is too late.
Containing much analogy, The Lost Key is a tale of adventure and fortitude; about the complexities of human nature and our attempts to conquer our demons. With equal importance, it is a story about friendship and the soul connection between the enigmatic characters of Leof and Elswyth. This is the second illustrated fable by Suffolk-based Rosie Andersen.