Blog tour feature – The Faerie Tree by Jane Cable

By | March 29, 2015

I’m absolutely delighted today to be hosting the blog tour for Jane Cable’s second book The Faerie Treepublished on 21 March 2015 by Troubador Publishing/Matador. When you sign up some way ahead for a blog tour without having read the book, you are sometimes taking a bit of a chance. Wouldn’t it be dreadful if you really couldn’t find anything nice to say about it? But I so loved Jane’s first book, The Cheesemaker’s House (here’s a link to my review), that I should have known I’d be in safe hands. I didn’t just like it – I really loved it. Here’s some information about the book…

How can a memory so vivid be wrong? 

I tried to remember the first time I’d been here and to see the tree through Izzie’s eyes. The oak stood on a rise just above the path; not too tall or wide but graceful and straight, its trunk covered in what I can only describe as offerings – pieces of ribbon, daisy chains, a shell necklace, a tiny doll or two and even an old cuckoo clock.
“Why do people do this?” Izzie asked.
I winked at her. “To say thank you to the fairies.”

In the summer of 1986 Robin and Izzie hold hands under The Faerie Tree and wish for a future together. Within hours tragedy rips their dreams apart. 

In the winter of 2006, each carrying their own burden of grief, they stumble back into each other’s lives and try to create a second chance. But why are their memories of 1986 so different? And which one of them is right? 

With strong themes of paganism, love and grief, The Faerie Tree is a novel as gripping and unputdownable as Jane Cable’s first book, The Cheesemaker’s House, which won the Suspense & Crime category of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition. It is a story that will resonate with fans of romance, suspense, and folklore. 

I’ll share my thoughts about the book in a moment, but first I’d like to welcome the author, Jane Cable, to the blog with some thoughts about second chances. Welcome Jane! 

Imagine. You have a day off work and you wander into your local bookshop to browse. The tables in front of you are stacked out with special offers. The shelves around you full of books, classified by genre, authors neatly in alphabetical order.

There’s that wonderful smell of freshly printed paper. You pick up one book after another; drawn by the covers, reading the blurb on the back – even teasing yourself with a glimpse at the first few pages. A few thousand books to choose from.

Now stop. Think again. You’re at home, in front of a computer screen. Hundreds of thousands of books. By genre, by sub genre, by sub-sub-sub genre… and by romantic theme. Sliced and diced in any way possible to help the reader make a choice from the mind-boggling cornucopia in front of them.

As an author you’re always encouraged to classify your title as tightly as possible on Amazon. And like it or not, Amazon is important. With The Cheesemaker’s House my sales to date are about half the paperbacks and over 80% of the ebooks sold through that single platform. Love it or hate it (and I fall into the former category), you certainly can’t ignore it. And classification is important because it not only helps readers to find you, it also does something to those all-important and almost incomprehensible algorythms which boost a book in the searches.

‘Second chances’ is the third most popular romantic theme after ‘Love triangle’ and ‘Secret baby’. In a survey undertaken by Romance Writers of America it also came third.  I didn’t deliberately write The Faerie Tree to fit into a category but seeing as it does then I’m going to use it. But what is it about second chances that readers – and writers – find so appealing?
The theme emerges at the very beginning of the romantic novel as we know it, with Jane Austen. Several of her heroines end up with the man they first thought of (Fanny and Edmund in Mansfield Park, Anne and Frederick Wentworth in Persuasion) and like so much of Austen this set the tone for much that follows. From Thomas Hardy to Danielle Steele the most popular writers of their day have engaged their audiences with the hint that lost love is capable of being restored.

Perhaps some of this it to do with the narrative structure of a western novel. Characters must have goals, and plots develop to help them, little by little, to overcome obstacles to achieve them. In common with many writers I don’t deliberately construct a book in this way but I am always surprised when I overlay the theory onto the story that it fits. My editor, Margaret Graham, would say that there’s actually only one story – Cinderella – and every generation re-invents it again and again.

I think second chance is important in fiction because the possibility of it helps us to deal with loss. When a relationship breaks down there is almost always a broken heart which needs to mend and perhaps it is helpful to nurse just a tiny hope that in future the loved one might return and all will be well. Perhaps it’s a healthy part of healing; clinging onto that hope just long enough for the pain to ease enough to be able to love again.

In The Faerie Tree Robin and Izzie’s second chance takes twenty years to come. In 1986 they hardly even started. In 2006, what will they make of each other now?

My review

I said it earlier, and I’ll say it again – I absolutely loved this book! I was immediately engaged by the story of Robin and Izzie, two people who were falling achingly and beautifully in love when tragedy struck. They come back together twenty years later, much changed and damaged people, try to put the pieces back together, make sense of what happened and see if the love is still there. 

The story is quite beautifully written and perfectly paced – where The Cheesemaker’s House was perhaps identifiable as a first novel, the author’s style has matured tremendously. This is a book that you feel and experience rather than read – the whole emotional content is quite perfectly handled, and there were times when I physically ached for the two central characters. The author really takes the reader under their skin – you might not understand what happened any more than they do, but you feel their hurt and loss with the same intensity.

The characters are wonderfully handled, but so is the setting. The faerie tree of the title is a quite perfect central focus to the story – much of the key action in the story takes place around it, near it or focused on it. It’s vividly described – with its decoration and trinkets left by people hoping for a little magic – and I love the box where children leave personal messages for the faeries. No-one should be put off by the mention of pagan themes – none of us can be averse to a little magic at times, and the story itself is very much of the modern world.

This is essentially a story about two people – two people that you grow to deeply care about – and how they deal and cope with trauma and loss, its impact on memory, and the possibility of second chances when hope seems to be gone.

I really loved it…and my thanks to Jane, the publishers and netgalley for the privilege of being one of the first to read and review it.

For more information, Jane has a Facebook page dedicated to her books: you can also visit her website or follow her on Twitter.

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