In Hampshire Izzy is preparing for her first Christmas as a widow, wanting to make it ‘good-enough’ for her teenage daughter Claire but still unsure what form her grief will take next. One day after dealing with the probate office Izzy bumps into a man she knew years ago, from before her marriage and motherhood. The man she saw was one who had disappeared from her life, someone she never dreamt she would see again.
Izzy is curious after all the man she bumped into looks like he has been living on the streets but she manages to track him down to the local hospital where he is recovering from pneumonia and hypothermia. She visits and they begin comparing notes on their lives but their memories dramatically differ on what really happened the last time they’d seen each other.
The title refers to the Faerie tree, a place where children leave their wishes for the fairies and the ever-obliging fairies give their response. This is the place where Robin took Izzy one summer’s day all those years ago. Robin returns there in 1987 after the Great Storm and is amazed and relieved to see it still standing, complete with ribbons, toys and money left for the fairies. Returning to the tree starts a new chapter in Robin’s life, one where we get to see what kind of man he really is.
Although this book hints at folklore, this really is a footnote to the main story which is a ‘second-chance’ romantic novel, one set around two people in their forties for whom the intervening years since their brief relationship were worlds apart. With all that has happened the reader has to wonder if they can ever possibly make a go of it. Intertwined with the romantic aspect the author probes the mystery of memories, is it possible for two people to remember such a significant part of their lives in such a different way? Who has remembered correctly and why has the other equally believable narrative been constructed? This element lifts the story to something more than a simple romance to one that delves into the how our mind can play tricks on us and how hard it is to let go of these memories even when they are proved to be false.
With such a well-paced and engagingly written story populated with believable characters, even the teenage Claire was realistically portrayed, this made for a thoroughly enjoyable read.
I’d like to thank the author for arranging for me to read a copy of this book for review purposes. The Faerie Tree is due to be published on 28 April 2015 by Troubador Publishing Ltd.