John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things was exactly what I was in the mood for. As Connolly says this is "...a story about stories and their power to alter our existences and to shape the adults we will become".
A young boy named David's love of stories comes from his mother's influence; stories can come to life if only you were to read them! David's mother becomes sick and passes away just before world war 2, and he begins to have seizure like fits, and hears books talking. His father tells him that Rose is pregnant, and that he and Rose will married, and that they all move to Rose's house where there is more room. When Georgie is born, David is consumed by jealousy and anger, does his father love Georgie more?
While roaming outside, David realizes that whenever he comes close to the small walled-in garden in Rose's yard that his "fits" come on more readily, and that he can see and hear things-including an ominous creature looking through the things in his bedroom. One night David decides to enter the garden just as as a fighter plane crashes into his yard. David finds himself in another world, chasing after his mother's elusive voice. We are left wondering (even in the end) is this other world real, or does it exist solely in the imagination and dreams of this young boy?
This new world is a mixture of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Brother's Grimm. David meets helpful and harmful creatures along the way, a woodsman-helpful, the Loup-harmful werewolf-like creatures on the prowl to take down the kingdom, the Crooked Man-harmful, cunning, and deceitful, and Roland-a soldier and ally. David must make his way through this world to find the king and his Book of Lost Things in order to make his way back home. Along the way David faces his many of his own fears, and rises to each challenge with courage and intellect. In the end David must decide what is true and what is false, not only in this strange world, but also in his own, and in the end is he willing to sacrifice his half brother Georgie for the life he once knew.
Who doesn't like a story with the possibility of another world where fairy tales are true, and our pasts can be escaped. Connolly's novel was magical and real in equal parts-I devoured this book in less than two (working) days! A great read.