At 3.23 am, the hospital call to say a heart's been found. Put like that, it almost sounds funny, as if someone's just discovered it in a rubbish bin or on a doorstop like happens in the news sometimes with tiny babies.
Except that's not how it is.
What they really mean is someone's died.
Published by Faber and Faber in July 2015
Pages - 307
When Alice's brother gets a longed-for chance for a heart transplant, Alice is suddenly bundled off to her estranged grandmother's house. There's nothing good about staying with Nell, except for the beautiful Darkling Wood at the end of her garden - but Nell wants to have it cut down. Alice feels at home there, at peace, and even finds a friend, Flo. But Flo doesn't seem to go to the local school and no one in town has heard of a girl with that name. When Flo shows Alice the surprising secrets of Darkling Wood, Alice starts to wonder, what is real? And can she find out in time to save the wood from destruction?
Reviewed by Vivienne Dacosta
There really is something magical about opening a book by Emma Carroll. With each new addition to her library, the magic gets stronger and her writing style becomes more defined as she settles comfortably into her role as author of the modern classic. I really do think that Emma Carroll has magic flowing from the tips of her fingers.
Just in case you hadn't realised, I LOVED THIS BOOK!
It is simply gorgeous and full of fae like creatures. Emma Carroll makes you believe that fairies really do exist. I was instantly drawn back into my childhood, desperate to run with arms flailing, into the nearest forest to find my very own fairy door.
But that book isn't just about fairies, oh no, it's also about hope, during a time of despair. Hope that you can change your life if you just stay strong and believe enough.
The book is told from the point of view of Alice, while being interspersed with letters dating back to 1918. This story has strong connections to the Cottingley fairies from 1917. The letters from the past, even mention a visit from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which is something he would have done, due to his interest in fairies. After the war, the world was looking for something wonderful to cling to, and the Cuttingly fairies was just the thing.
I loved the setting of the story. The house sounded magical and full of secrets before we even got to the forest, which just oozed Enid Blytoness! I bet if you delved just a bit further in the forest, you would bump straight into the Faraway Tree.
All the female characters are tough in this book. Not one will be defeated, even if it does mean they have to compete against each other. The battle between Nell and Alice was brilliant as you could see both points of view, so it was difficult to choose sides.
And I loved Borage, the dog. He reminded me of Wrolf, the dog that was really a lion, in The Little White Horse, one of my favourite books ever.
I really really enjoyed this book, my only fault would be that I read it too quickly, so that it was over too soon! I can't wait to read Emma's next novel, The Snow Sister. I'm already planning breaking into the Faber and Faber offices. How many years will I get for stealing a manuscript?