In this fantasy novel, an eccentric English lord and a fun, fearless young girl help the human and the fairy worlds unite by saving the fairies’ home garden from being demolished.
Rather than get engaged in local politics, Stephen Eddington, lord of Lopcombe Manor, prefers hiding away in his mansion, buried deep in historical studies. His disconnect from the modern world extends to the period costumes he wears on a regular basis. One day, Stephen and his neighbor Marie, a spirited young girl who admires rather than judges his eccentricities, discover a tiny dictionary of sorts that shrinks the reader down to the size of an insect. From there, they befriend a fairy named Pipogen, who introduces them to the magical world in the nearby East Deanery garden, which they never knew existed, and educates them on its vibrant history. Stephen and Marie are just growing accustomed to the newfound magic in their lives when they learn that the garden is to be demolished and replanted, meaning the fairies’ home will be destroyed. Despite Stephen’s initial misgivings, his friendship with Pipogen and admiration of the fairies sway him into leaving his introverted life behind; he decides to convince the powers that be to leave the garden alone. Debut author Wynne creates a delightfully detailed world full of bucolic English charm and otherworldly magic. However, once Stephen leaves the comfort of the countryside for London in hopes of getting a bill in front of Parliament to protect the garden, the rather lengthy novel begins to run out of steam. London isn’t as magical a place as the garden, and its characters aren’t terribly interesting, perhaps because they’re so centered in reality in comparison to Stephen, Marie and their fairy friends. Up until this point, the plot is rather tangled and confusing at times, much like the weeds running rampant in the garden, though it’s still enjoyable due to interesting historical references and the characters’ quirkiness.
A fun, fairy-filled adventure for all ages, when it’s not bogged down by the intricacies of British politics.