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Release date 19 February 2024

Paperback and digital through all the usual online retailers


Aoife Ni Coillte is the eldest daughter of an Irish Indentured family, living in a poor village near the estate of Tanglewood Manor. In love with George Oliver Williams, the eldest son of the wealthy Williams family to whom the manor belongs, Aoife is rejected as an unsuitable match in favour of the heiress, Dido Dubois. Pride and bigotry drive her to unkindness towards Dido's younger sister, Bellouise, until one fateful evening, when she is jointly punished by the African ancestral spirit, Belloko, and Pouq, the Irish phantom faerie. Transformed into the monstrous Steel Donkey, Aoife is condemned to haunt and terrorise the area, until she can learn to love that which she hates.


Ten years later, the Williams family hires John Jack, a discerning and kind freed slave to help maintain the family property. An unlikely bond takes root between Aoife and John, followed by rumours of Steel Donkey sightings spreading like bushfire across the hills.


Tanglewood is a postcolonial gothic romance, set in a fictional 1840s Barbados, that explores the isolation of the Irish Indentured, and a unique origin story for the local folkloric legend of the Steel Donkey.


  • 'Tanglewood is a thing of subtle, exquisite beauty. Knicky L. Abbott has a rich, luscious use of language where every scene feels as saturated as an oil painting, bringing Barbados into trembling life. By twisting together the strands of Irish and Caribbean history and mythology, she has created a vivid and unsettling story, made even more poignant and painful thanks to her grasp on the complexities of human nature and grievances. This is a tale that will stay with me and ensures Abbott is a writer to watch.'

    Cat Hellisen, Nommo and BFS Awards Shortlist


    'A weaving of moonlight and spite, of love held and lost, of terrible sins unforgiven. Knicky L. Abbott's Tanglewood is something new and rare. Riveting.'

    Angela Slatter, award-winning author of The Path of Thorns


    'Tanglewood is a lush and evocative tale of pride and punishment set in the years following the abolition of slavery in 1840s Barbados. In this gothic, postcolonial twist on Beauty and the Beast, Aoife, an indentured young Irishwoman, is transformed into the monstrous Steel Donkey of Barbadian legend, until she can learn to love what she hates. Told in gorgeous prose and ripe with brooding magic, Abbott's otherworldly fable charms and startles in equal measure.' 

    Nikki Marmery, author, LILITH 


    'Utterly bewitching, utterly immersive. I was swept away by this stunning gothic tale that reimagines Barbadian folklore and history. The language is richly lyrical and often startling, while never flinching away from the darkness at the story's heart. A powerful tale in which Abbott's connection to her island emerges in a sensuous love letter to nature. A lush and distinctive new voice.'

    Karen Ginnane, Time Catchers series


    "Tanglewood is an intricate and fascinating examination of desire, betrayal, hope and bitterness. Beautifully told, it captivated me from beginning to end."

    Shauna Lawless, author of Children Of Gods And Fighting Men

    'A lush fable of romance and heartbreak. Abbott’s vivid reimagining of this Bajan folktale is brimming with poetry and empathy.'

    Rhiannon Ghrist, BFS Award Winner

    'Abbott's prose is magnetic, effortlessly drawing you into a poignant, vividly realized origins story of Barbados' mythological Steel Donkey. Tanglewood is a darkly mesmerizing tale of choice and consequence.'

    C L Farley, The Invisible Girl


    'Tanglewood is beautifully written, as Abbott's prose is perfect for this lush story, creating a compelling plot which becomes intense extremely fast; half poetic at points, exploring the origins of the Steel Donkey folklore. A novella that shows an immense writing talent, and that puts Knicky L. Abbott as a name to watch.'



    "Abbott is a skilled writer creating scenes of lush tropical beauty that make us feel the joy and love of certain scenes but alongside this under dark trees, leaves and night skies there lurks a world of ancient powers, magic and dark deeds. That lack of simplicity pulls us into multiple direction and what we’d like to happen may not be possible. Tanglewood is an appropriate title for this story. Nothing and no one is really simple to define. Fairytales do not often exist in real life and neither does everyone deserve a happy ending even when we feel they have suffered enough. Our bad choices can often shape our entire future lives. A hugely impressive story and highly recommended!"

    Runalong The Shelves


    'It’s so beautifully told in a poetic prose style that isn’t at all difficult to get into. I found I very quickly forgot I was reading. What we have here is a cleverly written folk-horror tale, combining two cultures, but it’s also a parable of sorts, which comments on the failings of humankind as much as it entertains.' 

    Dave Brzeski - Parsec 10


    "Abbott’s strong worldbuilding casts the jungle as Aoife’s refuge, and the narrative allows the reader plenty of space to immerse themselves in the vivid verdant landscape. Abbott uses Aoife’s perception of the world around her to highlight and enhance themes of hope, isolation and revenge.

    Tanglewood invites readers to explore folklore outside the Anglo-European lens, and Abbott’s lyrical prose and rich characters make it a rewarding experience." Aurealis #170

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