After finding a fairytale written by an unknown American writer in the antiquarian bookshop where she works, Hazel embarks on a journey to find her long lost sibling. I found this a lovely tale of lost innocence, true friendship and the consolation of fantasy and nature.
'England had just declared war on Germany. London was on edge. Papa had already been … was already gone … you know the training accident.' She cringed. 'And then Flora and I were sent to the countryside to live with strangers.'
'Yes, darling, I know.' Barnaby took her hand.
'Well, I'd tell Flora stories to keep her happy, to distract her.'
'Fairy stories? Like of the wee folk?'
'Not exactly. It was more, like, an endless story, an imaginary land for the two of us. Whisperwood and the River of Stars was only ours.'
She cringed at the dip in the tone of his voice. Barnaby was hurt that she'd never told him about any of this. Hazel was well attuned to disappointment in others. She picked up on any and all ways she didn’t please someone.
'Yes, and, Barnaby, Whisperwood is also the name of this new book written by an American author named Peggy Andrews. It's not just the title that's similar, so is the actual land and parts of the story.'
'Oh, Hazel, honey, you think this author might be your sister?'
She stared at him and saw it, as evident as a lighthouse in fog: pity. Pulling away her hand, she sat straighter.
'I don't know what to think. But I want to know how our story made its way to America. I'm confused, no one knows this tale. What if -?'
'What if she's alive,' he finished for her.