Blurb from Goodreads
As much as I love and need my husband, over the past few months I’ve realised something important. I can’t tell Eddie what’s been happening, no matter how much I want to. Not because he won’t believe me, but because he might.
And if Eddie believes me, he’ll try to stop me.
Faye knows that she is lucky. She has two beautiful daughters, a caring husband, close friends. The only thing that is missing is her mother, Jeanie, who died a long time ago. It is a loss that Faye feels ever more keenly as her own children grow older. Although her grief is always there, she has learned to keep it locked away.
And then something extraordinary happens, something that might allow her to speak to her mother again.
Faced with the chance to finally ask her mother all the questions she never could, Faye finds it impossible to let go of the past and live in the present. But does she really need to choose between the two? If making that choice means saying a final goodbye to her mother, Faye will try anything to hold on to both.
Space Hopper is a delightfully quirky little novel that I read in a matter of hours. It was just so compelling and I wanted to know how it would pan out.
The story follows 36 year old Faye who feels a great loss in her life even though from the outside it’s seemingly happy. She has a loving husband in Eddie and two beautiful daughters… but Faye is an orphan. Her mother died when she was just a girl and she was taken in by some kindly neighbours… Aunt Em and Uncle Henry (hello cute nod to Wizard of Oz!). And although Faye had a happy life with Em and Henry, they loved her more than words could say… her heart always ached. She felt her mother’s loss keenly and always felt that she couldn’t ever talk about her mother because her memory was sort of hushed by those around her… as if something was too painful to discuss.
So when Faye finds a portal to the past in an old cardboard box kept from a childhood toy, the space hopper of the title… she can’t believe her luck. She gets to meet with her mother and begins to learn all about this woman that she missed…
But of course time travel is never simple.
Faye must decide whether to stay in the past or more importantly, must decide whether or not she can somehow influence time to make it so her mother never dies…
What’s so compelling about this book is Faye and the choices she must make. Time travelling is dangerous and she risks losing her foothold in the present… but she also doesn’t know if maybe she’s just dreaming all of this…. It’s just wonderfully enthralling being swooped up in this story with Faye.
I really liked Faye as a character. She was a very grounded person in the middle of quite a fantastical storyline which somehow made this book feel very honest. I loved her struggles with faith and how that shaped her opinions on mortality. In a very interesting side plot, Faye’s husband Eddie is training to be a Vicar yet Faye is a non-believer. For me that dichotomy of beliefs worked really well in this particular story about how lives are remembered after death. About whether or not there is an afterlife or if the ones we love somehow become guardian angels to us.
This was a very touching read about both a mother’s love and a child’s love for their parent. I thought the emotions that all of the main characters went through were very well explored and really gave this book its heart.
The one thing I didn’t like was how Faye broke the fourth wall so to speak. The book is set out as if Faye is talking to the reader about her experiences and choices. I found Faye’s voice in that regard to be a little too flippant. As if she was trying extra hard to be witty and well liked …but for me it backfired. As it made Faye at times feel a little too self-centred and almost self-satisfied.
But on the whole I really did enjoy this. The prose is quite simplistic but in a good way. It’s the kind of book that is not very taxing to read but has a great, unique plot that’ll keep the reader turning the pages. A rare skill indeed.
A very enjoyable four stars
*An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review*
Publishing 1st February 2021, Simon and Schuster UK