“You know, I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland when I was a kid, and I never thought about what it would be like for Alice when she went back to where she’d started. I figured she’d just shrug and get over it. But I can’t do that. Every time I close my eyes, I’m back in my real bed, in my real room, and all of this is the dream.”
There are many stories where children enter some kind of fantastical portal, have all sorts of adventures, then spit back into the real world where hardly any time has passed. Every Heart A Doorway asks what happens after. Are these children emotionally OK after living in Wonderland for years and years, growing into adult bodies, and living long and full lives? To their parents, hardly any time has passed, and they certainly don’t believe all the nonsensical tales their child is telling. When the child cannot cope with life in the real world, and their parents don’t know what to do, the child is frequently sent to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
This book was absolutely fantastic. Seanan McGuire’s writing is wistful and transportative. I couldn’t hep falling in love with her writing and world-building with passages like this:
“I don’t dye my hair! It used to be all black, like my mother’s. When I danced with the Lord of the Dead for the first time, he said it was beautiful and he ran his fingers through it. All the hair turned white around them, out of jealousy. That’s why I only have five black streaks left. Those are the parts he touched.”
This is the first in a series of interconnected but stand-alone novellas, and they make perfect palette cleansers between the epic fantasy or angsty romance novels I tend to read. There are currently eight books out, and I can’t wait to read them all.