I love that Hazel has taken the story of the Cottingly fairies and added her own characters to create this novel. It is full of warmth and magic, and even includes a lovely bookshop! The overarching theme of the story is that for magic to happen, you first have to believe.
Cloudwish is the story of a girl whose parents came to Australia by boat, after the fall of Saigon. She has a scholarship to a fancy, private school in Melbourne, and tries to find her own space in two different worlds. There’s lots of typical, coming of age issues, but also plenty of diversity, a hint of magic, a sweetly complicated romance and Jane Eyre; a lot to like about this book.
A Corner of White is a clever, quirky, funny and wildly imaginative story, set in two worlds. One is our world ( Cambridge specifically) and the other, the Kingdom of Cello. There is adventure, romance, science, poetry and gorgeous detail. I’ll be back for the next one.
Every Heart a Doorway is an odd little story about a school for children who walked through doorways to strange lands, that on their return home, they long for. It started really well, and there is lots of imaginative detail, but I found it just too short and abrupt to have captured me fully. The characters were well drawn, if a little self-consciously diverse, but the action happened too quickly. It would probably make a good movie, that would be too scary for me!
Set in an alternate, modern day Britain, The Gilded Cage is about power and the class system, with a magical twist. The aristocrats, or Equals, have magic, called Skill, and they rule, making every commoner spend 10 years of their lives as slaves to them. One family begin their slave days together and become entwined with Equals, caught up in political machinations as they try to protect each other. It’s dark and clever, engrossing and, sadly, the recently released first book in the series. Now, to wait for the next….
The problem with reading a series slowly, waiting for the next book to be released, is that you can rather lose track of the continuing story. I still love Peter Grant, and especially Nightingale, and there were lots of great characters and witty dialogue, but occasionally I was a bit flummoxed. This series is a lot of fun, perhaps I need to reread the earlier books…..
Sorcerer to the Crown is a lush, vibrant, imaginative and thoroughly delightful tale. Zacharias Wythe is the Sorcerer Royal in Regency London. As a freed, African slave, he is not well liked and has much to worry him when he meets Prunella Gentleman, who, full of magical ability when it was suppressed in women, turns his, and everyone else’s, world inside out. Engaging characters, a clever plot and just the right amount of humour and romance, I really loved this book.
This Novel is a contemporary fairy-tale for grownups. For those who need a genre box it’s “Magic Realism”. If you have a hard time suspending your disbelief, engaging with the fantastical or embracing the transcendent this book is NOT for you; if the reverse, then it’s quite possibly perfect.
A recipe for reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane
1. Box of tissues – you’re going to be doing some crying
2. A dash of time- you’ll be doing quite a lot of reflecting
3. Liberal seasoning of imagination
4. A set of socks- because the pair you’re in will be knocked off!
5. A decent sprinkling of inner child
6. A splash of wonder
Mix thoroughly and enjoy anytime!