I started this book knowing that I’d probably like it. As the blurb of the book itself describes
“In the twilight days of World War II, seventeen year old Ella’s heart is broken when her partner, Jesse, mysteriously vanishes from their London ballet school. A search for him proves futile, leaving Ella to take matters into her own hands. Lured by a strange melody, she ventures through an old attic door and emerges in an idyllic, magical land. There she meets Wren, who instills in her the ways of the forest and fear of the mountain queen. The quest to rescue her lost love forces Ella down a path that questions her loyalty, tests her fortitude, and examines her heart’s deepest desires.”
It’s more than that, though. It’s a tale of friendship, solidarity and redemption, that even if one dream is shattered, new dreams can come to fruition, that as long as there is someone in your life who loves you – a lover or a parent or a friend – you can make it back into the world.
For me, this was a very nostalgic novel, too. I’m a child of Narnia. From The Magician’s Nephew to The Last Battle. And this White Queen who tempts little boys away and… I’m getting ahead of myself, spoilers! It is reminiscent of that.
And Rossetti! I studied her years ago and have taught her since and there is something of the Victorian poet. In the other world, Wren becomes Ella’s only friend, her sister. and, as in Rossetti’s Goblin Market, Ella is tempted away into terrible danger despite Wren’s warnings.