A fairy falls in love with a king’s son doomed to die by the hand of his older brother in the land of stories. A troll sends him to the land of humans in banishment rather than kill him, allowing the fairy to follow with the caveat of never contacting him. She watches him age as she maintains the appearance of a teenager. He spends his entire human life trying to return to the land of stories. The fairy monitors his transition to the son of a kindly couple who own a marshmallow shop in order to enter the military. In his old age, he is encountered by a young boy who meets him again as a young man when he is fighting again for his life. The fairy elicits the young man to record their tale for proof.
The outsider witness is rarely, if ever, done well, and is a bit distracting from this complex and heartwrenching love story. The ending is left open for the reader to speculate a reunion.
I was fortunate to receive a digital ARC through NetGally of this complicated fairytale.
We went down to the basement level, to the far corner of the room, with its ceiling-height bookshelves. All of the books were pre-20th century, light earth tones, very serious in their appearance. The curator climbed a ladder and picked from the penultimate shelf a pink-tinged book with a young girl on the front.
“Now this is about the fairies that everyone has determined were a hoax, but let me tell you-,” he was saying on his way down, interrupting himself by a slight misstep on the ladder.
Finally, he reached the bottom and handed me the book. It was heavier than I expected, with a silky finish. In the photo, the girl was gazing at what appeared to be a paper cutout fairy. The curator took the book back and opened it gently, turning pages slowly. When he stopped, it seemed that a tiny creature fell from a photo in the book.
“Aye, now we have to catch the little bugger. I was being so careful, too, You’ll soon see that this was no hoax.” He pulled a flashlight from his vest pocket and shined it under the bookcase.
A shimmering of tiny wings flashed by as the creature flew out and up. “We’ll just leave this here,” said the curator as he placed the book on the floor, open to the photo matching the front of the book, except the fairy was missing. He pulled me behind the adjacent bookcase. We peered around the corner for a few minutes. “It never takes her long. She likes to show off.”
Slowly, like a feather falling, and with the slightest fluttering sound, a light green fairy dropped into the photo as though she’d never been gone from it.