Welsh-born Morwenna Phelps has just transferred to an English Boarding School and the custody of her here-to-fore absent father and his three odd sisters. It’s a lot to take in at one time. Also, she’s living with a disability, incurred when she and her twin sister together prevented her half-mad witch mother from destroying the world. She and her sister, you see, saw fairies in the industrial ruins in the Welsh countryside and her mother tried to take control of the fairies and rule the world. Morwenna and her sister stopped her, but the consequence was a crushed hip and pelvis while her twin was killed.
Custodial services being what they are, Mor is not allowed to stay with the grandparent who raised her, but is sent to England to live with the father she barely knows. Luckily, Mor has found an interest in Science Fiction, which her father shares. She discovers all the early pioneers and treasures dipping into the numerous worlds of sci-fi. Told in diary format, its all first person point of view and for me, it resonated. I too was sent to a boarding school and never felt like I fit in. I also found refuge in the works of Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Roger Zelazny, Zenna Henderson, McCaffrey and Tolkien. To this day, I feel rich if I have books to-be-read around me and devour them at the rate of one or two a day
Mor discovers the unparalleled delights of Interlibrary Loan at the library in town. She also finds a circle of friends at the library who have formed a sci-fi book club. For the first time since the death of her twin, she has people she can relate and talk to. There’s even an interesting, good-looking boy, who looks beyond her disability.
But Mor’s mother invades her dreams and threatens her by magically appearing in the night. Only the incantation against fear from Dune helps dispel the phantom. The end of the book finds Mor back in Wales and facing her mother again.
I loved this book, as much for the reminders of the sci-fi books that enriched my teen years as the story itself. Morwenna’s tale brought back some of the wonder of my youth.