Some Kind Of Fairy Tale


How did I get it?:
I borrowed it.

It is Christmas afternoon and Peter Martin gets an unexpected phonecall from his parents, asking him to come round. It pulls him away from his wife and children and into a bewildering mystery.

He arrives at his parents’ house and discovers that they have a visitor. His sister Tara. Not so unusual you might think, this is Christmas after all, a time when families get together. But twenty years ago Tara took a walk into the woods and never came back and as the years have gone by with no word from her the family have, unspoken, assumed that she was dead. Now she’s back, tired, dirty, dishevelled, but happy and full of stories about twenty years spent travelling the world, an epic odyssey taken on a whim.

But her stories don’t quite hang together and once she has cleaned herself up and got some sleep it becomes apparent that the intervening years have been very kind to Tara. She really does look no different from the young women who walked out the door twenty years ago. Peter’s parents are just delighted to have their little girl back, but Peter and his best friend Richie, Tara’s one time boyfriend, are not so sure. Tara seems happy enough but there is something about her. A haunted, otherworldly quality. Some would say it’s as if she’s off with the fairies. And as the months go by Peter begins to suspect that the woods around their homes are not finished with Tara and his family…


I’m finding this book quite tricky to review because I loved it, yet it annoyed me at some points. But more on that later..
Del Martin answers the door to his daughter who disappeared twenty years ago without a trace. The family had come to assume that she had died. Tara looks like she did the day she left, and it unfolds that she hasn’t been travelling the world but the real truth is an unusual and dark tale. The day she disappeared she met a handsome man on a white horse in the woods and agreed to go away with him. She says the man was a fairy and he lived in a community of fairies who could control time but not control the two worlds. She stayed in this fairy land until the door had been opened to our world. Tara thinks she’s only been away six months, when in fact, she’s been away for twenty years. With her family unsure about Tara’s tale, they arrange for her to see a psychiatrist who tries to work out what’s ‘wrong’ with Tara.

The story is told with alternate narratives that discuss the past and the present and also journal entries from the psychiatrist. I really liked the idea of the reports of the psychiatrist and found them interesting, but I also felt it jarred the story a little. It is a beautifully written story for the most part with very interesting extracts of fairy tales or experiences of humans dealing with the notion of fairies.

I did find the character of Tara and Hiero a little underdeveloped. I would’ve liked to have known more about Tara, although she is the central character, to me it felt like I didn’t really get to know her. I guess this could’ve been deliberate, perhaps she was supposed to be a mystery to the reader. I also would’ve liked to learn more about Hiero. It feels like their relationship and Hiero’s motives were brushed over.

Despite these criticisms, I did find Some Kind Of Fairy Tale an engaging, unique read.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Reading next:
In The Time Of The Butterflies- Julia Alvarez

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