This one had an interesting premise; a young girl (Tara) turns up on her family’s doorstep, 20 years after she had gone missing, looking exactly the same, she claims she has been literally away with the fairies (although she doesn’t use the word fairy, apparently they don’t like that word and they’re not fairies as how you would imagine them, all tiny and with wings, imagine them more like us and in a sex crazed commune) but of course nobody believes her.
With an interesting premise like that, I found the book surprisingly hard to get into and I lacked empathy for all bar two of the characters, who were minor characters at that; Jack, the teenage son of Tara’s now grown up brother Peter and the elderly lady who lives across the road from Peter’s family, in a sub plot about a missing cat. However I did like how the book was divided into chapters told from differing viewpoints and in particular the inclusion of chapters of notes from Tara’s psychiatrist, who understandably attempts to offer a different explanation as to where Tara has been for the last 20 years and why she looks so young, so that the reader doesn’t know for sure, for quite a large chunk of the book, whether Tara is telling the truth or not.
I did appreciate the ending, although the author had to almost signpost what this book was really about (not so much about fairies but instead how people change, not always for the good, over long periods of time) but overall I was left with a distinctly lukewarm feeling towards this book. I listened to it as an audiobook and it had been in my to listen queue for such a long time I couldn’t even remember why I had picked it, only when looking at reviews on other sites after finishing the book (and the majority of the reviews rave about this book, so I appear to be a bit of a lone dissenter on this one) did I see why I must have ‘picked it up’, as the blurb bills the book as a cross between Neil Gaiman and Joanne Harris. Now other than a single short story (which I don’t remember), I’ve never read any Joanne Harris, so I can’t say if this book passes a resemblance to her work but I am a massive fan of Neil Gaiman and it must have been why I picked the book up and it is really nothing like his work at all.
(I’m going to start starring my book reviews, nothing like starting something 5 years too late)
*** (out of 5)