Skip to main content

The Light Between Worlds

Review

The Light Between Worlds

When you know where you belong, can you build a home for yourself anywhere else?

Laura E. Weymouth's debut novel is inspired by what could have happened to the Pevensie children after they left Narnia --- the youngest, Lucy, in particular. It's not straight fanfiction, but instead weaves its own magic: the other world is a beautiful kingdom called the Woodlands. They're guided by a regal stag named Cervus. There are only three children instead of four: Philippa, the eldest, Jamie, the middle child and only boy and Evelyn, the youngest.

Here they are the Hapwells. Evelyn was only a child when she called for an escape from the WWII bombing, and Cervus answered, transporting the Hapwells to the Woodlands where they spend six years immersed in magic, fighting for peace and growth. Eventually, Philippa feels it's time to go home. Cervus emphasizes that once they leave, he cannot call for them again. Evelyn, now a teenager who has spent her formative years immersed in magic, is desperate to remain --- the Woodlands, to her, are home. But Philippa was tasked with caring for her younger siblings, and she does what she believes is right.

"THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS is beautifully written. It's full of exquisite sentences and immersive atmosphere."

They reappear in their parents' home, exactly where they left it, exactly as old as they were they left. Jamie and Philippa choose to move on with their lives. As Philippa puts it, they had their fairytale --- now, it's time for their happy ending, and that means making a home in the "real" world.

But Evelyn cannot let go. Her siblings assumed it's only a matter of time, but as the years go by, Evelyn only sinks deeper and deeper into herself, longing for the Woodlands, even turning to self-harm. Philippa tries to build a life for herself, but is wracked with guilt. Eventually, Evelyn disappears. Has she been called back to the Woodlands, or has something much worse happened?

THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS is beautifully written. It's full of exquisite sentences and immersive atmosphere. The first half is from Evelyn's perspective, the second from Philippa's, and in both sections, the prose aches with the weight of longing.

You won't find much in terms of magical adventure here, though. Weymouth focuses on the aftermath of the Narnia/Wonderland/Peter Pan stories we're so familiar with, of the psychological and emotional resonances they leave behind. There are flashbacks to the Woodlands, but the storyline doesn't focus on any fantastical drama; it's far more concerned with introspection, sisterhood, identity and, in some ways, grief.

I loved many elements of this book: the language, how it explores a fresh perspective, how Weymouth writes soft, broken boys and strong, wondering, wandering women. I did, at times, miss magic and action, though, so a word of caution that you shouldn't expect too much of it in this novel. You might find the ending a bit predictable, as well, but you may also find it a satisfying resolution.

If you're seeking an emotive, empathetic, character-driven narrative that explores the aftermath of magic, definitely check this one out!

Reviewed by Maya Gittelman on November 13, 2018

The Light Between Worlds
by Laura E. Weymouth