This is the second of three volumes collecting the short stories of Andre Norton. They include tales from the Witch World, the Ithkar Fair, science fiction, stories with a variety of other fantasy settings, and stories of the Siamese temple guardian cat Thragan Neklop.
Norton wrote strong female characters when they couldn't be counted on in a genre assumed to appeal mainly to teenage boys. Her characters include magic users, little girls, Regency young ladies, professional investigators, beast handlers who can communicate mind to mind with their beasts, and of course, cats. Some of these stories are fond memories to me; some of them I hadn't encountered before. But this is vintage Norton, with rich characters in rich, well-developed settings, created worlds it's easy to believe real people live in.
She's a gentle story-teller, too, building tension gradually and with details, rather than shocking with graphic images. She wants her readers thinking as well as feeling. These stories were written with younger and middle teen readers in mind, but they stand up well for adults looking for simply a a good read, too.
I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.