The Faerie Tree
by Jane Cable
How can a memory so vivid be wrong?
I tried to remember the first time I’d been here and to see the tree through Izzie’s eyes. The oak stood on a rise just above the path; not too tall or wide but graceful and straight, its trunk covered in what I can only describe as offerings – pieces of ribbon, daisy chains, a shell necklace, a tiny doll or two and even an old cuckoo clock.
“Why do people do this?” Izzie asked.
I winked at her. “To say thank you to the fairies.”
In the summer of 1986 Robin and Izzie hold hands under The Faerie Tree and wish for a future together. Within hours tragedy rips their dreams apart.
In the winter of 2006, each carrying their own burden of grief, they stumble back into each other’s lives and try to create a second chance. But why are their memories of 1986 so different? And which one of them is right?
Central to this story is The Faerie Tree, a magical place where people leave messages and gifts in the hope of them being answered by the fairies. In 1986 Robin took Izzie to the Faerie Tree and they both realised they were in love. Unfortunately the same day brought tragedy and the couple parted and didn’t see each other again for 20 years.
2006: Izzie and her daughter Claire are facing their first Christmas without husband and father Connor who died a few months earlier. While out shopping Izzie recognises a tramp on the street as Robin, the man she was in love with 20 years earlier. Finding out that he has been hospitalised, Izzie visits him, offering him a place to stay when he is well enough.
The couple find that they still have feelings for each other, but will that be enough? Their memories of the past are wildly different.
I love the characters in this book. Robin is wonderful, so fragile and damaged, yet still so full of love and compassion. His pagan beliefs and love of the natural world helping him through very difficult times. I fell a little bit in love with Robin and he will stay with me for a long time.
Izzie has also had her share of tough times, widowed at 44, and trying to cope with her teenage daughter looking for more independence, she is not dealing very well with her grief. Her mood swings are frequent; from seemingly happy and contented to fractious and petulant.
Claire is a teenager wise beyond her years; needing independence and starting a new relationship with a boy, she nevertheless understands her mother is not as strong as she would like her to believe.
This is such a wonderful book. It’s about so much more than just two people losing and finding each other again. It’s about memory and how the mind deals with grief; it’s about tragedy and people’s differing reactions to it. But it’s also about love and friendship and it is beautifully told. What could be a heavy, dour subject is written about with such a light touch that it is very affecting but never depressing.
I read this book so quickly but I didn’t want to finish it. I am now looking forward to reading other books by Jane Cable.
Many thanks to the author for sending me a copy via Netgalley