For those that lived there, Neverland was a children’s paradise. No rules, no adults, only endless adventure and enchanted forests – all led by the charismatic boy who would never grow old.
But Wendy Darling grew up. She left Neverland and became a woman, a mother, a patient, and a survivor. Because Neverland isn’t as perfect as she remembers. There’s darkness at the heart of the island, and now Peter Pan has returned to claim a new Wendy for his lost boys…
The Husband brought this book to my attention on Netgalley, and so I requested it. And I really enjoyed it!!
In this book we get to see what happened to Wendy after her journey to Neverland. First of, her parents died on the Titanic, and so she and her brothers had had to grow up too fast. Michael and John have started to forget about Neverland, but Wendy doesn’t. She breaks bones convinced she can fly and overall just cannot let go of Neverland. When Michael returns from the war she falls out to him, and John decides to put her in an asylum. After a few years she gets out and starts her new family. But then Peter comes back, and takes her daughter with him.
I loved this look at some beloved characters. Everything has consequences and we really see those in here. It makes Wendy a very relatable character and you really root for her. She is stern but loving, a proper mother. I also adore some of the side characters in here. They are all really well developed… and where they are not (because they cross over from the original book), the book has an explanation for it. The marriage Wendy ends up in is not traditional at all, yet quite lovely. I love the representation!
The atmosphere in this book is also done superbly. There is a monster on Neverland and things don’t look like Wendy left them behind. And then there is Peter… who is kinda evil. Definitely a bully. All of it gives this book a very dark and somewhat uncomfortable feeling, which made me want to keep reading.
My only issue is with the writing. Although great overall, it is a bit too heavy on the character development. Especially Wendy goes through a lot of self-reflection – how she was changed by what events, why she feels how she feels, what-ifs. And yes it makes for a very relatable character, but at times it is a bit too much. A bit too over explained. Sometimes I just wanted them to get on with the actual plot.
So yeah, this is a dark, character driven story about a grown-up Wendy saving her daughter (who doesn’t need much saving anyway). And I adored it.