Welcome to my first ever book review! I know: This is really the kind of thing you’d expect to see on This Happy Place Blog, but I recently read a Disney-related book, and I wanted to share it with you …
Second Star to the Right
by Mary Alice Monroe
As a single mother of two, Faye O’Neill has no time for fairy tales. She’s not even certain she believes in luck. Practical, smart and desperate to escape a shadowy past, Faye takes a job at a top advertising firm in London where she hopes she and her children can find a fresh start. When she finds the beautiful two-story flat for rent in a stately old Victorian complete with a neglected but tumbling English garden, she can scarcely believe her good fortune. But it’s not long before Faye realizes everything in the old home may be as peaceful as it seems. (GoodReads description)
I am a total sucker for Peter Pan. It’s such a magical story, and it especially speaks to the part of me that holds on to exuberance, curiosity and excitement in the face of life’s many growing-up-related beat downs.
And I’m obviously not alone: Folks have been reimagining D.M. Barrie’s most beloved characters practically since he invented them … or did he? Invent them, I mean. This novel takes Peter Pan very much into the real world, positing that perhaps the Darling children weren’t so crazy after all. Perhaps Peter Pan is real.
The novel follows single mom and ad exec Faye O’Neill and her two children as they settle into London and into the stately old Victorian where they’ve rented a flat. It is a bit of a slow start, to be sure, so if you don’t love it right away, don’t give up! Faye is a rigid and almost unlikable character at the start, but … she loosens up.
Over the course of the novel, the family grows. Their imaginations grow. And the possible grows. It’s a romance. A workplace drama. A nail-biting mystery. It’s a big-hearted adventure that blurs the lines between reality and fantasy and surprised me at every turn.
Like I said, I was resistant to Faye at first, but I had a total soft spot for her two kids and her neighbors. In fact, I grew to love all of the characters (even the “villains”), but what I loved best about the book was how it brought some of my most beloved childhood memories to life and breathed some new life into them in the process.
What’s your favorite Disney-adjacent novel? Tell us about it in the comments or consider writing a review for MotM!