Author: Graham Joyce Publisher: Doubleday of Random House Inc. Publication Date: July 2012 Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Adult Fiction Pages: 308 Buy: The Book Depository
Book Description: It is Christmas afternoon and Peter Martin gets an unexpected phonecall from his parents, asking him to come round. It pulls him away from his wife and children and into a bewildering mystery.
He arrives at his parents house and discovers that they have a visitor. His sister Tara. Not so unusual you might think, this is Christmas after all, a time when families get together. But twenty years ago Tara took a walk into the woods and never came back and as the years have gone by with no word from her the family have, unspoken, assumed that she was dead. Now she’s back, tired, dirty, dishevelled, but happy and full of stories about twenty years spent travelling the world, an epic odyssey taken on a whim.
But her stories don’t quite hang together and once she has cleaned herself up and got some sleep it becomes apparent that the intervening years have been very kind to Tara. She really does look no different from the young woman who walked out the door twenty years ago. Peter’s parents are just delighted to have their little girl back, but Peter and his best friend Richie, Tara’s one time boyfriend, are not so sure. Tara seems happy enough but there is something about her. A haunted, otherworldly quality. Some would say it’s as if she’s off with the fairies. And as the months go by Peter begins to suspect that the woods around their homes are not finished with Tara and his family…
First Line: “In the deepest heart of England there is a place where everything is at fault.”
I picked up this book on a whim to read from the library. It sounded interesting so I started reading it right away. I really enjoyed the writing style in this book. It was clear cut and simple, yet elegant. This was also the type of fantasy book that wasn’t action heavy. It was more about telling a story and seeing the repercussions of that story being told. The reader gets bits and pieces of what happened to Tara for all these years as the story goes along. It felt like sitting on a park bench with the fog and mist all around you. You can’t see much at first and you have this strange tingling sensation on the back of your neck but as time rolls by you start to relax and the fog goes away. Except for that one spot, way in the back that you know is there but you’re too afraid to look at it.
I really enjoyed the story as it talked about the fine line between reality and fantasy. It’s all about perspective and I like that this book was very open ended. You could either believe Tara and her stories or you could believe that she had a trauma and blocked out all that time that has passed. By the end of the novel I wasn’t sure what to believe. I wanted to believe Tara but there was a small part of me that still doubts it all. That’s what I really liked about this book.
I highly recommend it and I definitely want to look into Joyce’s other works.
My Rating: ★★★★