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  • Tracy Sherlock

Fayne by Ann-Marie MacDonald a book of satisfying surprises


By Ann-Marie MacDonald

Penguin Random House

This is a tough one to review, except to say that once I got into the story, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a challenge to review, for fear of any spoilers, because this is a book of surprises.

Suffice it to say, Fayne takes place in the late nineteenth century, mostly in an estate called Fayne on the border between England and Scotland, with some of the action in Edinburgh.

Charlotte Bell lives on Fayne, with her widowed father, Lord Henry Bell. They keep to themselves, because Charlotte has a condition. Charlotte’s mother died giving birth to her and her older brother – heir to Fayne – died at about the same time.

There is a bit of magic at Fayne, mostly relating to Byrn, an elderly man who works there, and the bog that surrounds the estate.

Where the story goes, I cannot say, although I will divulge that family secrets play a key role, as does the theme of how men rule (and ruled) the world, regardless of how capable the women around them are.

I’ve been a fan of Canadian author Ann-Marie MacDonald since her 1996 book Fall on Your Knees, also a story about deep, dark family secrets. She’s written two other novels: As the Crow Flies and Adult Onset. If you’ve read them, you will know not to expect a bright, shiny fairy tale in Fayne. You will get something much more real and satisfying.

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