As a big fan of Spare Change (winner of the 2008 Whitney Award for Best Romance), I was keen to get my hands on My Fairy Grandmother by Aubrey Mace. After all, it promised to be a book by someone I’d enjoyed reading before on a subject I enjoy: fairies and fantasy. Since attending the LDStorymaker’s conference is my book buying spree for the year, My Fairy Grandmother inevitably made it into the stack. It was also one of the first I read after getting my stash back home again and it was pretty fun when I needed snatches of escapism.
What I must first point out is that My Fairy Grandmother has a totally different feel than Aubrey’s first book. Spare Change was a light, fun and inspiring LDS chick-lit type of title. My Fairy Grandmother tends to be quite a bit darker and will not appeal to everyone. Those who enjoy magical realism are the ones who, IMHO, will find the most that speaks to them in the pages of My Fairy Grandmother.
My Fairy Grandmother is based on stories a grandmother is telling to her granddaughter that illustrate her heritage as a one who has fairy blood. There is a set of stories told within the story. Expect to hop from present to past and back again as Grandma tells about the fairies in her family.
My biggest whine about My Fairy Grandmother? There are a lot of view point changes in the book and some of them were a little too abrupt for my poor brain.
Also, I understand what Aubrey was trying to do by making the granddaughter young (age 9); she wanted the child to be innocent and believing of her grandmother’s stories. But, because of the nature of the stories being told I can see a lot of nine year olds having problems with the tales themselves, not the believability of them. I think I would have preferred an older granddaughter. Perhaps one that was wrestling with the issue of “grandma’s a fairy” verses “grandma’s lost her mind” herself rather than making this solely the role of the mother.
My biggest happy-dance for the story? Grandma Viola. Of the three main characters grandma is definitely my favorite. She seems the most defined to me and someone I would thoroughly enjoy knowing. I’m all for brownies for breakfast and will never look at a peppermint candy the same way again. She’s my type of gal.
I found the stories that Viola told more engaging than some parts of the modern day action, with the exception of the scene in the doctor’s office. That one was worth its weight in gold.
Seeing Aubrey shift gears between genres and knowing that her next book is a romantic comedy for Christmas, I get the feeling that-- like many writers-- she has far too many voices in her head for her own good. It takes time to figure out which ones you really want to listen to. So, I commend Aubrey Mace for exploring as many facets of fiction as she is able, but I will be watching curiously to see which genre becomes her signature. She’s a good storyteller and it will be fun watching her talent grow.