Stars: 3.5 out of 5
This book has been languishing on my TBR list since 2013, and even though I own the book, I never got around to reading it. So thank you for the Cleaning out your TBR challenge for finally giving me the push I needed to tackle it.
All in all, I actually liked the story. It has that magical realism that I love in Neil Gaiman and Garth Nix’s books, where the characters live in a seemingly perfectly normal and mundane world, but sometimes elements of the supernatural infringe upon their existence. Or blend with it, like it happened for most of this book.
I also loved Polly. She is an excellent main character. She is complex and fleshed-out, and really likeable. I can understand why she would be so taken by Mr Lynn – he is the only adult, apart from Granny, that showed her the least bit of care and interest. The more you learn about her home life, the more you realize just how horrible and self-centered her parents are. To them, having a child is an obstacle to their happiness. And the culmination of that is when her mother sends her packing to live with her father… who didn’t even have the courage to tell his new wife that Polly was coming to stay for good. And what kind of father just leaves their daughter at the train station without making sure she has a ticket and enough money for a snack, or actually seeing her off on that train?
Polly was a neglected child who craved for someone who would care about her, so she clung to Mr Lynn who had shown her a little kindness, but most importantly, who listened to her and cheered for her accomplishments, no matter how big or small they were.
So yes, I liked this book, but there is one factor that I simply can’t overlook. That’s the fact that Mr Lynn used her. An adult purposefully befriended a ten year old child and continuously insinuated himself into her life over the years. Yes, you could argue that he had a magical reason for this, and was hoping that she would save him from the fairy queen he was indentured to, but the fact stays – he was grooming her. He knew exactly what he was doing, and it’s not like Polly could give her consent to this. Not when she was a child. And that’s something that I simply can’t overlook. It makes my skin crawl. So I am taking 1 star off my score here.
However, I am glad I finally got around to reading this book, and I will check out other books by this author.