Saturday, September 03, 2011
Lil is an old woman living in New York. Her day job is in a second hand book store owned by newly divorced George. They specialise in finding old and first editions of books and Lil has always ben drawn to fairy tales, in particular Cinderella. You see Lil is a fairy godmother, none other than Cinderella's fairy godmother. She was flattered at being chosen to help Cinderella reach her destiny, she is to marry the Prince and become Queen. The problem is that Lil goes to take a look at the Prince herself and falls in love with him. She takes Cinderella's place at the ball and is then banished by the Elders to live in the human world.
Lil thinks that after three hundred years she has finally found a way to go home. She sees her sister in the corner of her eyes often in the light as it dances and longs for the fairy realm below the water. One morning Veronica enters the book shop with a book of the Cottingly fairies and Lil sees her sister and friends in the pictures. This is surely a sign that her time with the humans is almost over. Veronica is young and vibrant and would be just the thing for George who has withdrawn into himself. If Lil can make a match between them, surely she can repair the damage with Cinderella and atone for her past mistake.
Of course the story is not quite so simple. It looks into human pain and suffering that occurs from loss. We start to question Lil's story and wonder what the reality of her past is. It's a beautifully told story that really captured my imagination and attention. Of course I am slightly biased as I love alternative versions of fairy tales, but this really stood out as being in the same league as Briar Rose by Jane Yolen which I thought was amazing.
I can't remember who recommended this to me, but you have my hearty thanks. I loved this book so much. The characters were so alive somehow and the tale was told with care and attention to detail. I loved that Veronica kept her journal online and Lil was able to learn a great deal about her life. She is someone I would really like to befriend, she seemed like a lot of fun. My only tiny niggle was that we didn't get to spend more time getting to know George as well. Another 50 pages would have been even better.