Monday, 24 July 2017

A Different Reflection

A Different Reflection

Jane L. Gibson

4 out of 5

Synopsis
Katharina Stuart, nicknamed Kat, has a pretty normal life. She has a great job in London writing for a magazine and comes home every night to her beautiful apartment and her fiancĂ© John. Most people would envy her, but Kat has always felt like something is missing from her life…

After being assigned a new set of stories, from which she is struggling to gain any enthusiasm, Kat is given a new lead on an old property for sale called 'Northfield'. It intrigues her that the old butler still lives there and she finds a flurry of excitement that this could be her new story, so proceeds to try and get him to agree to an interview.

Northfield does not disappoint in any way. It is old, in beautiful grounds and the grandeur it radiates has Kat captivated from the moment she arrives. She befriends the charming George who still lives there, and as he gains her trust he allows the story of how he came to live there to unfold. He is not alone in the house, and his unbelievable tale of witches, magic and spells makes Kat begin to question her own beliefs…

It’s not long before Kat experiences the magic of Northfield first hand, and as she spends more time with the occupants of the old house she so desperately wants to help her new friends. But in doing so, her relationship with John becomes strained, with the added complication of Nadine, his work colleague… Will Kat decide to follow her heart and her dreams, or follow her head and the voice of reasoning? Whatever path she chooses, she knows that her decision will change her life forever.

A Different Reflection is a modern day fairytale that captures the lives of regular people alongside romance and fantasy.


Review
When Kat follows up on a possible story for her magazine job, she has no idea that she will be part of a real-life fairytale. A beautiful house, 200 year-old curse, and their caretaker George, all start to enchant Kat.

I got a signed copy of this book when I met the author at Keighley library recently, which was awesome. I mean, modern fairytale and magic, I had no choice!

I really enjoyed this book, it's light-hearted, fun, and just a nice read for a lazy weekend.

It starts with Kat, who is happy with her life. She has the London apartment; the fiance who is building on his successful business deals; a job as a journalist; and potentially her first big story on its way.
On paper, everything is perfect.
I really liked that, as the story goes on, Kat realises how disillusioned London life has made her. She feels almost a debt to society that she should have all of the above, and she has forgotten her dreams. She feels a duty to her relationship with her fiance John, after all the time they've been together; even though it seems like they're just going through the motions.
I think she needed this challenge to wake her up, as much as anyone!

We meet George as the potentially senile old man, who lives alone in this beautiful old house. He is a very sweet character, and after getting to know Kat, he enlightens her to the secret of the house, and the history of one cursed young lord.
George becomes like a father-figure for Kat (and a poor, cursed Lord James). After so long alone, he takes a lot of pleasure in taking care of somebody again.

And then there's the mysterious James at the middle of it all. In his time, he was lord of the manor, and a bit of a cad, breaking many hearts, including his mother's. Now, he is the victim of a curse, which will be his punishment, and his redemption.

I thought the story was lovely, and I was impressed how the magic was weaved into daily life. After questioning her sanity, Kat decides to believe, and accept it whole-heartedly.
Although the plot was fairly predictable, it's still a nice, cosy read; and the fairytale is very original.

The downside - I felt there was a lot of repetition over how nice the house is, how homely Kat finds it; how connected she is with George and James. 
I mean, it is nice, but verged on saccharine at points.
There's also some padding and musing over the same things, that made the slow down.
I thought that the book didn't need to be 480 pages, and could have been condensed, without losing the story or themes.

Overall, I'd recommend checking this modern fairytale out, and I can't wait to read Gibson's other work!

Goodreads link
Amazon UK

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