This the author's fourth book, but the first I have read of hers. It is described as interweaving family secrets, dark loves, and the allure and fear of the supernatural. I'm not necessarily a big believer in all things supernatural but I'm certainly open minded and as it sounded quite dark and mysterious it appealed to me.
One night 12 year old Lisa goes into the woods behind her Vermont home and disappears. She has told her brother Sam that she has met the King of the Fairies, and that he is going to take her home to be his Queen. She believes the door to his world is in the ruins of an old abandoned town in the woods. Fifteen years later Phoebe and Sam, her boyfriend, receive a strange call that brings Lisa's disappearance to the forefront of their minds.
The book switches between the time just before Lisa's disappearance and the present, and from Lisa's viewpoint to Phoebe's. The moves between the two, and when the events are supposed to have taken place, are clearly indicated, but even without it would have been easy to follow.
This was one of those books where when I had to put it down I found myself thinking about it, and trying to figure out what was going on and where the story might be headed. Would the explanation be supernatural or was it some darker but human? Lisa absolutely believed in the fairies, whereas Sam was a logical, scientific type who was sceptical at the time and has remained so over the years. I felt a bit like I was trying to untangle the truth along with Phoebe and Sam as they got pulled into the mystery, such was the strength of the storytelling.
I thought the characters were well drawn, and could well imagine the dynamics between the young characters in the time before Lisa vanished. I also really liked Sam and Phoebe, they were both sympathetic characters whose lives were thrown into turmoil. I really wanted to see them have a happy ending. I couldn't possibly reveal whether they get it or not, but the ending left me feeling satisfied, even if it did leave me with some questions.
I started the book with a slight concern about whether this might venture too far into the realms of fantasy and the supernatural but needn't have worried, it was well balanced between fantastical and thrilling. I'll definitely be looking at the author's other titles.
Format: E-book, review copy (expected publication date 17th May 2011)
My Rating: 5*