Author: A. C. Wise
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Fantasy Retelling
Published: 1st June 2021
Rating: 4 Stars
A lush, feminist re-imagining on what happened to Wendy after Neverland, for fans of Circe and The Mere Wife.
Find the second star from the right, and fly straight on ’til morning, all the way to Neverland, a children’s paradise with no rules, no adults, only endless adventure and enchanted forests – all led by the charismatic boy who will never grow old.
But Wendy Darling grew up. She has a husband and a young daughter called Jane, a life in London. But one night, after all these years, Peter Pan returns. Wendy finds him outside her daughter’s window, looking to claim a new mother for his Lost Boys. But instead of Wendy, he takes Jane.
Now a grown woman, a mother, a patient and a survivor, Wendy must follow Peter back to Neverland to rescue her daughter and finally face the darkness at the heart of the island…
Thank you to NetGalley and Titan Books for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
As you can probably guess from the name of my blog, I love anything and everything to do with Peter Pan so when I saw this book on NetGalley I knew I had to request it. It was described as a feminist and dark retelling of Peter Pan, and that is exactly what I read.
‘Her own name taken from her and turned against her – a gag, a chain.’
In this retelling, Neverland is not a place of unburdened joy, but it has a dark quality that is explored throughout. There is often talk of a monster or something similar that is hidden at the heart of it. I really enjoyed this book as it dealt with the aftermath of Wendy, John and Michael returning from Neverland. There were three different story lines in this book but it was very easy and clear to follow. The book begins with Peter arriving to Wendy’s house and taking her daughter, Jane away to Neverland. Wendy then takes it into her own hands to rescue her daughter from Peter and Neverland. I loved how Wendy and Jane were brave and courageous when facing Peter and the horrors of life in Neverland.
‘Wendy finds the second star from the right, knowing it like an anchor to her soul, and sets her course, flying straight on ’til morning.’
As well as Wendy’s point of view, we see Jane’s perspective of Neverland and the author describes her nervousness and reluctance to blindly follow Peter’s rules perfectly. Jane is confused as to why she can’t remember her own name, as Peter believes she is Wendy and wants her to be Wendy. The third storyline is Wendy’s life post-Neverland and how she dealt with being in St Bernadette’s, which was essentially a mental hospital. I loved the way the author described Wnedy’s struggles of not being taken seriously and the relationship she built with Mary, another patient at St Bernadette’s.
‘As much as that long-lost part of her wants to run, to fly, to be utterly free of responsibility, the star she navigates by now is Jane.’
This book was a brilliant retelling of Peter Pan. Although, if you want the joy of the original by J. M. Barrie, this is perhaps not the one for you, as this Peter Pan and this Neverland is full of mystery and a darkness, which can only be described as intriguing.
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