THE HIDDEN PEO­PLE Away with the fairies

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 384 pages | Hard­back/ebook Au­thor ali­son lit­tle­wood Pub­lisher Jo Fletcher Books

Think fairy­tales are all about Dis­ney princesses and true love’s kisses? Think again. Ali­son Lit­tle­wood’s creepy new novel harks back to a time when fairy­tales were ter­ri­fy­ing. Here, there’s noth­ing good about “the good folk”, and even telling sto­ries about them can have deadly con­se­quences.

Nar­ra­tor Al­bie Mir­rals is an up­right Lon­don gen­tle­man who scoffs at su­per­sti­tion… un­til his cousin is killed by fairy-fear­ing vil­lagers. De­ter­mined to re­pair the dam­age to her mem­ory, he trav­els to her home­town to in­ves­ti­gate. Once there, though, his ra­tio­nal world­view starts to wob­ble. Could the vil­lagers be right? Was Lizzie a changeling? Or is there some­thing even nas­tier go­ing on?

Lit­tle­wood ex­pertly weaves themes of mythol­ogy and misog­yny into a psy­cho­log­i­cal page-turner that feels both fa­mil­iar and fresh. It doesn’t take much ef­fort to spot its lit­er­ary in­flu­ences (one char­ac­ter even pulls out a copy of Wuther­ing Heights!) but there’s an un­de­ni­ably mod­ern edge to the sto­ry­telling.

Hyp­notic and in­tel­li­gent, with buck­ets of at­mos­phere, this is a fairy­tale so dark that no amount of cheery singing wood­land crea­tures could magic up a happy end­ing. Sarah Dobbs

Lit­tle­wood cites Sir Arthur Co­nan Doyle’s 1922 book The Com­ing Of The Fairies as one of her in­flu­ences.

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