It’s this middle of World War II, and confined to a country house with his new stepmother and even newer younger brother, David is full of hurt, anger and jealousy. In his attic room, he seeks comfort in a collection of old books. As he becomes consumed with the world between their pages, David starts to feel a strange affinity to the boy who lived in his room before.
When the events of one fateful day conspire, David finds himself in a place where nothing is as it seems, struggling to find a way to get home in a strange, threatening kingdom of twisted fairytales. His path is peppered with obstacles, and he is forced to face his innermost fears, overcome death and battle his nightmares before he can finally come face to face with an aging king who seems destined to lead the kingdom into ruin.
The Book of Lost Things is essentially a fairytale – but it’s certainly not a fairytale you’d want to read to small children at night. Bringing in elements of a whole host of different stories, Connolly twists and manipulates narratives for his own purposes, spinning motives and intentions and traditional plotlines into an intricate web of characters and incidents.
In fact, the author builds a whole new world with such rich detail and flair that I almost started to believe in its existence myself. The Crooked Man really was scary, a truly brilliant villain with wicked intentions. The truth, when it was finally revealed, was as terrifying as any nightmare come to life in the darkness. This is not a book where everyone has a happy ending. All of the characters we come across, from the Woodcutter to Snow White, have been given their own jaded and fractured back-stories that have been woven perfectly into the fabric of the narrative.
Ultimately, it’s the perfect book for anyone looking for a dose of escapism or pure fantasy with a twist. It’s spooky and mesmerising, and it takes a completely different direction to anything else out there.