Mor, after the death of her twin sister and months in care, moves from the Valleys of Wales to an English boarding school where she is immediately an outcast. Having just met her father for the first time, whose care she is now under, she finds solace in the worlds of Science Fiction novels. After all: Mor’s mother is a witch and she can see fairies, so it makes sense that fantastic writings have appeal.
This book is absorbing, charming and extremely real. Being Welsh and having been to most of the places mentioned, I can understand completely how jarring it would be to move from the valleys and the Welsh way of life to an upper class boarding school in the late seventies. Mor is a teen obsessed with literature and the fantasy world; which instantly bonds you to her character. It’s a coming-of-age story, as Mor works out both who she is and who she will be; learning to lead her own life and break through the painful life she had before.
Mor’s full name is Morwenna, and her twin was Morgana, which again was shortened to Mor. This adds another level of discovery, or breaking free. As a twin, she always had another ‘self’ another person constantly with her, both in looks, in like and in name. Now that person has gone, will forever be stuck at 14: she even sees her sister’s ghost proving this. Mor will grow, change and become a different person alone. And this book is the story of her coming to terms with this.
Then there’s the element of the fantastic. Can Mor actually see fairies? Is her mother really a witch? Or, seeing as her childhood with her mother and the loss of her twin were extremely traumatic, is this her coping mechanism. We’re never sure, and the novel ends almost of a final show down that would free her from this past. Has Mor chosen to face reality, to ‘grow up?’ Or is everything she tells you completely real?
It’s a clever book, which references a huge amount of science fiction classics. So as a bonus, it gives you a fantastic reading list to work on. This is a good piece, one I’m glad I read.