This fairy tale is at once charming, exquisite and immensely powerful. Its entry into my life could not have been more timely and the story could not have been more relevant. It was a birthday gift from my husband and it arrived, like my birthday, at a time of intense grief involving the loss of another child for my lovely daughter who had only just fifteen months before suffered the same devastating loss of a much longed for baby. At no other time in my life has the power of a story been so relevant, so calming and so affirming. This story of grief, loss and a mother’s love for her child could not have been more apt in subject matter.
The usual fairytale themes are present; good vs evil, love, trust, belief in oneself etc and they are portrayed through the most beautiful imagery. The colours and vibrancy of language contrasts perfectly with the dark greys of the pencilled illustrations by Bonnie Helen Hawkins. These beautiful drawings adorn the pages effortlessly with their dark and light shading reflecting the shadow motif and the oppressiveness of sadness and grief. The characters jump from the page and the setting of the deserted streets of London is eerily pertinent in this time of pandemic and lockdown. Fay is a strong female, tenacious in her pursuit of truth and selfless in her final act. A stunning story of female power, energy and force. I don’t keep all the books I read but this one deserves its place on the bookshelf, to be read again.
The author is a favourite although this is the first fantasy genre of hers I have read. I am looking forward to reading more.