I’m looking for a fantasy book I read in the 80’s or 90’s. I believe the author was a woman. The story was about a man that is pulled into a fantasy world by a broken down cripple, to impersonate a guy that disappeared. There’s a stone that’s embedded into his skin, with memories. He has to convince an old wizard, and a beautiful woman. He also has to confront a bad guy. In the end, it’s revealed that the broken down guy is the missing guy, and that he was corrupted and broken by the evil guy.
The opening chapters depict a working class unmarried couple who are struggling. The woman really likes the man but he already has his mind set to move on from the woman (and her young son), and to find better work elsewhere. I want to say they are squatting in a small house in rural CA somewhere.
The man decides he wants to take the woman’s son climbing before he abandons them. He wakes the boy up early and they drive to (I believe) Yosemite National Park together in the man’s truck. The man takes him on a long, multi-pitch roped climb, which I remember really enjoying reading about.
When the two get back, the man does indeed leave. He goes on to find a job working as a carpenter or cleaner or some laborer type position on roofs and gables and other high places, which I assume he can do because of his experience climbing. He makes a coworker friend and one of the last things I can recall is he teaches the coworker how to not be so afraid of heights.
Baby book, maybe bath book, has just a few words on each page: Splish Fish, Quick Quick, Safe Home. Those are all I remember.
I’m pretty sure the title is one word, “The ______ “. I remember most the ending; a little girl is walking around the perimeter of her house (a Victorian?), looking in the windows, but can’t get in and no one can hear/see her. Through the windows she sees another girl who looks exactly like her, interacting with her (the main character’s) family, playing with her toys, basically living her life in her place like an impostor. At the end she discovers she is in fact dead, a ghost, and the other little girl has replaced her.
Number of years ago I read a series of books about a society that was at war with what seemed to be a plant related species that was taking over the country. The Prince of the “good guys” formed an alliance with an enemy
society, which were reptilian nature. The prince transports them to his country on iceberg boats and together they defeat the enemy. The Prince then allows the enemy society to remain in his counties as allies and
friends even though they were different species.
Man never drinks water, uses wine for mouthwash, etc. Drops clothes on floor wherever he takes them off, servant picks them up
Main characters were named Mayor Zebra, Rabbit, and Hen. Starts off with the three playing instruments under a Banyan tree. Decide to host a craft festival with the towns animals. Scenes include a bull running a china shop, an owl doing astrology, antelopes maybe? making kites, and a spider making lace. Book ends with Mayor Zebra, Rabbit, and Hen being declared winners for putting the festival together. Book had very detailed artwork.
It’s the story of a family who joins a wagon train to travel to California. In one of the episodes, they meet up with another wagon train before they cross the Sierra Mountains and it turns out that other group was the Donner Party. They went their separate ways. (It didn’t mention what happened to the Donners.) Another vivid part of the book had them crossing the desert, they’re almost collapsing from thirst and tormenting mirages of water appear on the horizon. Also, I seem to remember them carving on rocks, joining the marks of others who had traveled that way.
There is a series of mystery books that have a Dutch inspector solving them. He is married to a former Czech gymnast who has a bum leg. They have a daughter together. He smokes a lot, as does she and their marriage is not very good. He is an excellent inspector, however, who sometimes gets emotionally involved with his cases. In the final book, he is killed, unfortunately.
I would like to know the name of the author or at least the name of one of the books. I read these about ten years ago.