Saturday, 27 July 2013

Review: Into the Mists by Serene Conneeley

Into the Mists
5 /5 STARS
Enter the swirling mists of an enchanted land, and open your heart to the mystery... Carlie has the perfect life. A wonderful family and a best friend she adores. A house by the beach so she can go surfing after school. A clever, rational mind and big dreams of becoming a lawyer. A future she's excited about and can't wait to begin. But in a split second her perfect life shatters, and she is sent to the other side of the world to live with a stranger. In this mystical, mist-drenched new land, she is faced with a mystery that will make her question everything she's ever known about her parents, her life and her very self. A dark secret that made her mother run away from home as a teenager. An old family friend who is not what he seems. A woman in blue who she's not convinced is real. A shadowy black cat that she'd swear is reading her mind. A deserted old cottage she can't always find. And a circle of wild-haired witches who want her to join their ranks. Will she have the courage to journey into the mists, and into her own heart, to discover the truth? And can she somehow weave together a life that she'll want to live - or will she give up and allow despair to sweep her away from the world forever?
This is a beautifully-written tale of personal growth and redemption. I immediately linked with the main character Carlie. She is strong and believable, and her character arc is a joy to behold. She begins the story depressed and full of self-loathing: a teenager uprooted from her home and bitter about everything in life. But by rediscovering the truth about her own past and that of a family she never knew she had, she begins an inspiring journey to be free of her tragedies.
The backdrop of rural England is like walking into an old painting, full of mystery and beauty. I really liked how Carlie often draws parallels between her new home in England and her old life in Australia, comparing and contrasting them to drive the story along. And the mystical parts add a great depth to the book, which kept me guessing and thinking back on their significance even after I’d finished it. The depiction of paganism is wonderfully done: enchanting and truthful, showing that there is no ‘fantasy-style magic’ here – only the magic Carlie finds inside herself to better her life.
Into the Mists is a beautiful story. The plot, setting, characters, twists and turns all work so well and play off each other brilliantly. It demonstrates the power of human resilience through hard times; opening up to love and leaving destructive pain behind. There are some real kernels of wisdom in these pages, which can speak to all ages, but it’s all threaded in gently and doesn’t destroy the story. For as specific as Carlie’s tale is, there are a lot of details which anyone can relate to: shifting friendships, loss of loved ones, embracing change.
This is one of those stories which I didn’t want to end, but I couldn’t help but devour it in just a few sittings. It’s definitely one I would read again, and would highly recommend checking out!

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