Author: Carolyn Turgeon
Release Date: March 2, 2009
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy
Source: Curled Up With a Good Book
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
To the outside observer, Lil is simply a lonely old woman living alone in the bustling city of New York. She spends her days working in a bookstore and at night, she goes home to her small apartment. However, under the surface, Lil is much more than she appears to be. Yes, she is tired and alone. But she has been alive much longer than anyone realizes. You see, Lil was once a fairy, one of those mythical creatures that few people believe actually existed. In fact, she was the fairy godmother to Cinderella herself, though the modern day world had the story completely wrong.
However, Lil was cast out of the fairy world, made human for a horrible and unforgiveable act she committed. Day after day, she watches herself grow older, wishing and hoping that one day her fairy brethren will come back for her and welcome her back into her former life. In the process, Lil meets Veronica, a beautiful and vivacious girl who brings life into Lil’s cold world. Lil believes that she must make up for her mistake in order to return to her life as a fairy, and thinks she can do that through Veronica. After all, the fairy world is where she belongs…or is it?
Godmother is a fascinating read that makes the reader question what is real in a world where nothing is as it seems. Lil is the most unreliable of narrators; her memories don’t seem to coincide with what is going on around her. Everything about her seems slightly off; there is obviously something not right with her, but it isn’t clear what that might be. At the beginning, the reader assumes that it is because she comes from the world of fairies. But as the novel progresses, that assumption can be questioned.
Godmother incorporates the real-life Cottingley fairy hoax within its pages. The Cottingley fairies were contained in a series of 5 pictures of fairies. They were taken by two young girls in 1917 and 1920 who claimed to have interacted with these fairies. Many, including the famous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, believed that the pictures were genuine. Though it has since been dismissed as a hoax, the girls continued to claim that one of the pictures was real, even after they had admitted they staged the rest. Lil sees these pictures and believes that her fairy brethren were trying to send her a message through them. It is always nice when a novel teaches the reader something of which they were previously unaware.
At its core, Godmother is either a fairy tale with a dark twist or a strongly psychological novel. It’s also quite possible that it is both. This is a great book that will stick with the reader for a long time and leave them thinking. It would make a great book club read because there is so much to discuss within its pages. Godmother is highly recommended, even if you are not a regular reader of fantasy novels. It is a gripping read that you won’t be able to put down.