As a young girl I loved to watch the movies The Secret Garden and A Little Princess so I was very happy to begin reading this book and get Frances Hodgson Burnett vibes almost right away.
There are some magical realism facets to this book that weren’t as detailed as they could be; however, as this isn’t an adult book, I think the author showed a bit of restraint, trying to keep the story interesting and a bit creepy and yet not so scary that the suggested age group for reading this book won’t be able to handle it.
When we first meet Lottie she is living happily with her parents in a fictional land called Vivelle. Lottie has a gift for art, and sees things as beautiful and bright which often helps her deal with the reality that not everyone in Vivelle leads a life as colorful as she does. Though it is clear that Lottie is insightful and knows a lot about the world around her, she is a young girl with her whole life ahead of her and hasn’t known grief or hardship like some of those who live in the city of Vivelle and whose lives have lost their color.
Following along in a similar storyline as Hodgson Burnett’s, Lottie is suddenly left an orphan when her parents never return from a party, dying in an accident on their way home. Though Lottie is taken in by a recluse uncle that she never knew existed, she knows life will never be the same and this is where the story began to match up very closely to what I remember of The Secret Garden, with the author taking care to add in her own imaginative additions to the plot such as the land of In Between where spirits go when their human body dies.
Though Lottie finds her uncle hard to understand, she begins to wrap her mind around his belief that a spirit might be brought back from the In Between if found. Lottie holds out hope that she and her parents may one day be reunited, but in the meantime she makes discoveries similar to those that Mary did in The Secret Garden.
It was fun to read this book and reminisce about how much I love the idea of a secret garden that has been locked up and forgotten and then rediscovered and made to flourish once again. The Edge of In Between is not only a fun and imaginative read, it also has some deeper themes if you’re willing to look for them.
Review of a Digital Advance Reading Copy from Penguin Random House
Violence/Gore: A brief scene occurs where a young girl overhears someone telling a woman that the girls parents have died in an accident; several brief instances of a young girl hearing strange noises in the night; a reference is made to a woman having died from pregnancy complications after giving birth; a brief scary scene occurs where a woman is mentioned to have decomposing skin, skin pulling back from bones; mentions are made of people dying and going to an in between place; several mentions are made of a minor being aware of ghosts, spirits and dead people.
Mature Subject Matter:
Death; loss of a loved one; ghosts; supernatural occurrences.