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The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston

March 15th, 2018

John Tarrow, the creator of the extraordinary Talliston House and Gardens, has written a young adult Fantasy novel inspired by the house. John is publishing The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston via Unbound – a crowdfunding publisher –  and you can help fund this lovely project by clicking here. What follows is a short film and text from John where her shares a little about the book and what inspired it:

If you’re the kind of person who has fallen in love with a Grimm’s fairy tale, delighted over Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, or dreamed of flying with Peter Pan to Neverland, you’ve arrived at the right doorway. Talliston is a place you’ve only ever seen in your dreams; a world of magic and imagination like nowhere else on earth. A house where Time never treads….


Abandoned and alone, thirteen-year-old Joe’s world is shattered when he enters a deserted council house and becomes trapped within a labyrinth protecting the last magical places on earth. There, Joe discovers The Stranger’s Guide, a cryptic book charting this immense no-man’s land and his only map through its dark and dangerous puzzle of doors and rooms. Hunted by sinister foes, Joe is forced ever deeper into both the maze and the mystery of his missing parents. What lies at the labyrinth’s centre and will it reunite him with the family he so desperately needs?

Equal parts Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, His Dark Materials and The Lion, Witch And The Wardrobe, The Stranger’s Guide To Talliston is a classic tale of adventure that introduces readers to an otherworld hiding in plain sight, cloaked in magic and steeped in imagined history. Yet beyond its fearsome huntsmen and battling magicians lies the story of children discovering the secret that lies within all of us – the power to live extraordinary lives.


The setting for this novel is a real-life house that’s been on quite an extraordinary journey itself. It began in 1990, with the UK’s most ordinary house: a three-bedroomed, semi-detached, ex-council house in Essex. Over the next 25 years, more than 130 volunteers, artists and artisans transformed it into Talliston House & Gardens. Now that Talliston is internationally famous and dubbed ‘Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home’ (The Sunday Times), it has inspired this amazing adventure.


Talliston is an exploration of the concept of the extraordinary within the ordinary. It’s about realising how we each have inside us the power to be whatever we want and to live any life we can imagine. Already the house is a thriving community of writers, artists and artisans – and appeals to anyone who yearns an escape from the mundane modern world into a life made magical.

One Response to “The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston”

  1. Thank you so much, Philip, for spreading the word about this new venture for Talliston.

    As each location in Talliston is a dwelling built on the last magical places on earth, the book also focuses on the magic and spiritual teaches of each time and place (New Orleans hoodoo, ancient Irish mythologies, Navajo shamanism, et al), and how it has been interpreted by each culture or occupant. I see it in the same vein as a modern-day The Way of Wyrd… encompassing as it does my world travels and studies in Native American Shaman (Lakota Sioux tradition) and as a Bard, Ovate and Druid in OBOD. Obviously OBOD more than any has played a large part in that journey.

    So I have two asks:

    • For OBOD members to pledge their support of such a book.

    • For people to share news of the book in their social media / blog / pages?

    The hardback is being published in early 2019, but to be clear, these are pledges for a deluxe special edition version. It’s an exclusive and being created to look like a magical book with a golden labyrinth on the front and internal artwork – but before it is, we need preorders before production.

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