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far far away – tom mcneal

Far Far Away – Tom McNeal

I received a review copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Jeremy Johnson Johnson isn’t a typical ‘normal’ boy in his small town of Never Better. For starters, there’s his name – his parents had the same surname when they met, and shared this phenomenon with him in this way. He also owns a bookshop – The Two Book Bookshop. His mother  disappeared years earlier, under strange circumstances – oh yes, and his constant companion is the ghost of Jacob Grimm. Well, he can only hear his voice, but that’s enough!

When bright, beautiful, feisty Ginger Boultinghouse shows a sudden interest in him, and convinces him to come to the baker’s to try the magical Prince’s Cake. This begins a sequence of events that play out like a typical Grimm’s fairy tale – but will trthe ending be a tragic or a happy one for Jeremy, Ginger and their families and friends?

I’ve been quite into Grimm’s tales and re-workings of them recently, Having read Grim, and Philip Pullman’s Fairy Tales of the Brother’s Grimm, so when I saw this one it called to me, like a golden mechanical bird in a dark dark wood.

I really had no idea what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised by this poignant, touching timeless tale of a boy trying to fit in with a life that can’t quite contain him. There is an authentic Grimm feel to the story, which seems to be ‘olde-worldey’ and yet TV exists, and Ginger speaks like no folk tale heroine.

Narrated by Jacob himself, Jeremy’s self-appointed ‘protector from evil’, this is a unique coming-of-age story with a few sinister twists and turns along the way – and a finale that I really wasn’t expecting.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for other Tom McNeal books.

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