Ghosts, special powers and fairy tales all add a certain whimsical element to fiction. Here are three books that add the whimsy well.
Fan of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? You may want to give this tale a try. Many reviewers are suggesting this tale for fans of Guernsey because of the lighthearted look at serious issues.
It’s a typical day at the Tower of London. The Beefeaters are donning their uniforms to go out and answer tourist questions (most popular, just like at the library, where’s the loo?) leaving their marital problems, writer’s block, nighttime ghostly visitations and other personal catastrophes in their stone walled homes. Life as a Beefeater isn’t easy. And with the move of the Royal Menagerie to the Tower from the London Zoo things are about to get even more exciting.
As I mentioned, there are serious issues at the core of this story, but there are also touches of whimsy to bring a smile to your face. There are frightened monkeys with interesting fear reactions, the London Underground’s Lost Property Office (with a varied collection of false teeth and magician props) and Sir Walter Raleigh who just won’t leave the Tower.
The Popular Fiction Book Discussion Group will be meeting at the Bridgewater Library on Tuesday, December 21st at 7:00pm to discuss The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
What would eating be like if you could taste the emotions of the bakers of your food? And not just the bakers, but the people who harvested the apples which went into your apple pie? What if you were able to tell what factory your processed food came from based on the emotions, or lack of emotions, your food brought out? This is the gift/curse that Rose Edelstein learns to live with, and eventually enjoy, after hiding from eating most of her young life.
This tale of magical realism is not as light as I thought it would be. I was expecting a lighthearted tale with some romance thrown in. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe the bright cover? Instead, this is a by turns dark coming of age story about life in a dysfunctional family. An interesting read, but not what I was expecting!
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
I was talking over this tale with some friends and we were trying to decide what genre it is. It’s not a love story (although there are romances that come and go); it’s tragic (but not overwhelmingly); and it is gothic (but again, not completely). My friend Fran (thank you Fran!) nailed it down – it’s reminiscent of the family sagas of the seventies and eighties. This is a tale you can get lost in as a family mystery is discovered and unraveled over three generations over two continents.
This is a gripping novel told simultaneously through three different timelines. It is a bit confusing in the beginning as a number of characters are introduced, but as you get absorbed in the mystery the story moves quickly and unfolds in twists and turns.
So where’s the whimsy? One of the main characters is a masterful fairy tale author. A few of her stories appear in the novel and the tales are definitely reflections of the mystery surrounding her life.