A Different Reflection by Jane L Gibson
|A Different Reflection by Jane L Gibson|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Louise Jones|
|Summary: James has been trapped inside a mirror for centuries because of his selfishness and cruelty to others. Can true love really break the spell and free him from his glass prison?|
|Buy? yes||Borrow? yes|
|Pages: 480||Date: April 2015|
|External links: Author's website|
Eternal optimist Kat has always believed in fairytales and happy endings but can't help but wonder where her own life went wrong. Stuck in a dead-end relationship with dull workaholic John, it's hardly the happy-ever-after that she'd always hoped for. Things are about to change, however, when Kat discovers a mysterious house that has been cursed by an enchantment; a handsome Regency beau is trapped within the mirrors and only a declaration of true love can break the spell and release him...
So begins our tale; a heady fusion of Regency romance, fairytale fantasy and contemporary chick-lit. It makes for a surprisingly good combination, as the author gives the traditional Beauty and the Beast story a modern makeover. Over 200 years ago, James, the philandering and selfish heir to the Northfield estate was taught a lesson by a spurned lover who just happened to be a witch. She magically banished him inside the mirrors of the house to reflect on his misdeeds in the hope that he would realise how much his actions had hurt others. Unfortunately for James, she never returned to break the spell and centuries passed with James becoming increasingly despondent about his situation. His only companion has been his loyal manservant George, who was also affected by the spell inasmuch as he can never age until James is freed from his glass prison.
The storytelling felt fresh and unique, with some interesting plot devices that added plenty of twists to the narrative. One example was the way that items like food, drink and clothing could be reflected to James' side of the mirror, so that he could dress in a more modern style or share a meal and class of wine with friends. I also liked the way that James was invisible to most people, unless they truly believed in magic and fairytales. This means that Kat can see and hear him, but most of the potential girlfriends that she brings to the house in the hope of breaking the spell are completely oblivious to his presence.
I also enjoyed how the relationships in the story highlighted different aspects of Kat's personality. She has a warm friendship with the elderly George, who is like the father she never had. In contrast, her friendship with fun-loving workmate Claire allows us to see Kat's wild side. With boyfriend John, its all about her vulnerability and unwillingness to leave her comfort zone, whereas with James, she can truly be herself. Kat is a delightful protagonist and we want her to get the happy ending she deserves.
Despite the engaging storyline, I did have some issues with the dialogue in the book, which often felt stilted and repetitive. I was puzzled by the inclusion of so many exclamation marks in the text, which gave the impression that all of the characters were in a state of perpetual excitement. The poor use of punctuation affected the flow of the narrative and did become a distraction at times.
Punctuation issues aside, I really enjoyed this story and the clever twist on a modern fairytale. I'd love to read more enchanting tales from this exciting and imaginative author.
For more magical storytelling, try the excellent Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer, in which a teenager obsessed with a fairy tale book soon finds herself part of the story.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Different Reflection by Jane L Gibson at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Different Reflection by Jane L Gibson at Amazon.com.
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