Ballad of the Beanstalk

  • by Amy McNulty
  • Narrated by Kaitlin Descutner
  • 5 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

As her fingers move across the strings of her family's heirloom harp, 16-year-old Clarion can forget. She doesn't dwell on the recent passing of her beloved father or the fact that her mother has just sold everything they owned, including that very same instrument that gives Clarion life. She doesn't think about how her friends treat her like a feeble, brittle thing to be protected. She doesn't worry about how to tell the elegant Elena, her best friend and first love, that she doesn't want to be her sweetheart anymore. She becomes the melody and loses herself in the song.
When Mack, a lord's dashing young son, rides into town so his father and Elena's can arrange a marriage between the two youth, Clarion finds herself falling in love with a boy for the first time. Drawn to Clarion's music, Mack puts Clarion and Elena's relationship to the test, but he soon vanishes by climbing up a giant beanstalk that only Clarion has seen. When even the town witch won't help, Clarion is determined to rescue Mack herself and prove once and for all that she doesn't need protecting. But while she fancied herself a savior, she couldn't have imagined the enormous world of danger that awaits her in the kingdom of the clouds.
A prequel to the fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk that reveals the true story behind the magical singing harp.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Imaginative Fairy Tale Retelling

This fairy tale retelling tells the story of the magical golden harp in Jack and the Beanstalk. Clarion is the daughter of a pig farmer, one of a trio of friends, and a harpist that can capture listeners' hearts. After her father's death, her mother resorts to selling all of their possessions, including Clarion's beloved harp. While playing her harp for the last time at the Mayor's ball, Clarion and a visiting lord's son discover a giant beanstalk growing in a witch's garden and the adventure begins!

I love fairy tale retellings, and I've never read a Jack and the Beanstalk story before. The author created an interesting world and characters. I liked that the sexuality of the characters was presented as matter of fact without labels. I actually preferred Elena to the main character, and sympathized with her when she realized that Clarion had feelings for a man, and she was alone.

The plot was interesting, but every new reveal had to be explained to Clarion in detail, so every twist consisted of another character telling Clarion, 'No, THIS is why that happened'. Clarion asked all the right questions, but instead of being addressed, they were ignored. I'd love to hear more about why the little people didn't know about the giants, and where Jacosa's magic came from.

The narrator read dramatically and with feeling. Instead of reciting songs, she sang them, and it was really well done. I was provided a copy of the audiobook, and I'm voluntarily leaving a review.
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- HeatherY


I was excited to start this book and just knew I would love it...not so much. Right from the beginning, I had a hard time staying with it. It started slow and just never picked up or got interesting for me. The only thing that wasn't slow was the narration! Most of the book sounds like the narrator is trying to speed read. I tried slowing to .75 and it was just the right speed until those moments when the narrator realized she was reading too fast and tried to slow down. Unfortunately, it just wasn't that great.
I received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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- Kimberly Smith

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-18-2017
  • Publisher: Patchwork Press