On a few occasions I’d seen this book in various forms – either on the shelf in a bookstore, somebody holding the paperback on the train or within a list on Kindle. It wasn’t until recently I reread the book’s blurb after seeing it on my Kindle recommended list and actually thought it didn’t sound too bad and offered something different to what I’ve read in a while.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the result. Morton provides something different in her dark fairytale mystery, which switches between present day and then back to two different periods in the past.
Admittedly when I first started reading the story – and in fact for quite some time – I found this book quite tough to get into, there are just so many characters! At times you do feel you have to remind yourself who is who and which character they are related to. Unfortunately with reading this on a Kindle it’s also not as easy as a paperback to just flick back a few pages/chapters and find the passage referring to said character to refresh your memory.
One thing I loved about Morton’s story is the constant reference throughout to ‘Eliza Makepeace’s’ fairytales – I found them so enchanting, with a dark twist. Also the way the history of Nell and where she truly comes from is told throughout her granddaughter’s modern day detective work, Nell’s own discoveries and the actual past itself is very clever and makes for an addictive read.
At times, the book does feel a little long and that the story is almost never-ending. Regardless, you still want to read on and find out the answers and the real truth of what happened and the true character behind each person featured.
There are lots of twists and turns throughout – some of which, granted, are a tad predictable and easily guessed. Morton keeps you captivated though and her descriptions are very strong and well written – many times I could picture myself in the cold, grimy room where Eliza lived as a young child, or sitting on the bench admiring the beautiful forgotten garden itself.
You end the book feeling satisfied, happy and still left with that feeling of magic. Morton does well to tie everything together in many ways - the storylines, the characters, the time periods and the novel versus the fairytales.
Not so great
Too many characters
Perhaps could be a little shorter
Some bits are rather predictable
Overall a good read and certainly worthwhile on Kindle as it's hardly any cost where it's a bit older now. The best way to sum it up for me is like a grown up fairytale for adults. Magical and enchanting!