Book Review: The Faerie Tree by Jane Cable

The Faerie Tree by Jane CableThe Faerie Tree is a deceptive novel. The cover made me think of witches and spirits, but the blurb caught my interest and, in reality, it turned out to be mysterious in a far more disturbing way than I could have imagined, playing, not with spirits, but with memory, so that even as a reader you’re not quite sure what’s going on. The novel begins with an encounter in 2006, as Izzie spots a homeless man who looks somewhat familiar, and the past slowly begins to unravel.   

It is intriguing to read a plot based around this starting point. If you met a homeless man on the street tomorrow, what would be his story? And how much of it would you believe? What drives someone to this kind of existence?

Jane Cable has cleverly begun with these questions and gradually, through flashbacks and memory, woven a plot together which becomes more and more compelling as it goes on. Izzie is grieving for her late husband, who passed away just six months previously, and now trying to single-handedly bring up her teenage daughter (Claire), attempting to protect her from the worst of her grief.

In the end, she catches up with the man (Robin) again, and they begin to share their lives, remembering a time over two decades earlier when they knew each other before, and their magical encounter with ‘The Faerie Tree’. This is based on a real oak tree which the author visited, near the River Hamble, festooned with ‘offerings’ in the form of ribbons, beads and small toys, along with letters from children, written to the fairies.

Robin and Izzie recall the moment they made a wish, hands linked around the tree. This was the same day that their lives were changed forever, and from this moment on they were destined to lose each other…

As Izzie and Robin begin to get to know each other for a second time, they must bear the pain all over again, and it soon becomes clear that something is not quite right, as their memories of those early days don’t seem to match up exactly as they should.

This deceptively simple novel examines what can happen when grief tips someone to the edge of despair, and beyond. It is a beautiful, gripping and heart-warming story which reveals the intricacy of human emotion and connection.

Buy The Faerie Tree by Jane Cable.