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The Light Between Worlds by Laura E Weymouth

The Light Between Worlds (edition 2018)

by Laura E Weymouth (Author)

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966184,049 (3.39)2
Title:The Light Between Worlds
Authors:Laura E Weymouth (Author)
Info:HarperTeen (2018), 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth



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I really had hoped that this book would be good, because it seemed like an interesting premise. Problem is, once I started reading, it was basically a retelling of the Chronicles of Narnia.

Basic Plot: Kids are pulled from war-torn Britain and end up in an enchanted forest. They meet the animal who is 'king' of said forest. Children have to protect the forest from the evil that wants to hurt the forest and all that's in it.

The only redeeming quality IMO is that it is told from two points of view-but Evelyn frustrated me from page 1, and Philippa isn't much better. ( )
  JennVelez | Feb 9, 2019 |
I just couldn't finish this book. I made it a hundred pages into the story (mostly by skimming) and was so bored with it that I couldn't force myself to go any further. So I flipped to the back of the book and read the last couple of chapters, decided that I honestly didn't care about this story at all, and back to the library it went.

It reminds me a lot of the Narnia series, from what little I can remember (I read it in fourth grade, which was a LONG time ago). I enjoyed the Narnia series much more, from what I can recall.

I really wanted to love this book, but I found the back-and-forth between "present" (post-WW2 Britain) and "past" (Ev's time in the Woodlands) to be distracting. And Ev was so depressed in the present time that it was hard for me to feel any connection to her at all. ( )
  schatzi | Jan 30, 2019 |
"A Woodlands heart always finds its way home."
It's what Cervus the Great Stag told Philippa, Jamie, and Evelyn when they arrived in the Woodlands, called out of the misery and terror of hiding in a London bomb shelter into the beauty and serenity of the forest. And it's what Cervus told them, five and a half years later, when he sent them back and told them that he would not be able to call them again. Life after the Woodlands has been an adjustment for all three of them. Jamie has set his mind on conquering academics and making his way in this world, and Philippa has done the same, albeit with lipstick and nylons and school projects and social clubs. But Evelyn's Woodlands heart refuses to accept the return to this world, and she pines for what she considers her true home. She wanders the forests around her boarding school late at night, often without shoes or coat, yearning for the same call that drew her away before -- and Philippa, outwardly so collected and sophisticated, has been doing all she can to help Evelyn adjust. But now Philippa has gone away to school in America, leaving Evelyn on her own for the first time since they returned. Will Evelyn be able to finally make her way in this world?

This is a beautiful book, full of deep emotion and difficult choices. One gets the sense that there can't really be a happy ending for these characters, though one hopes for certain outcomes above others. The narration follows Evelyn for the first half of the book, immersing the reader in Evelyn's desperate longing for her other world, and then switches to Philippa for the second half of the book, adding complexity to the emotional tone as one learns more about both sisters. Layered in with Evelyn's narration are snippets of their lives in the Woodlands, and interspersed with Philippa's are memories of life after the Woodlands but before the book's current events. Both sisters relate strongly to art (poetry for Evelyn, visual art for Philippa) as a means of making sense of their lives and emotions.

Though you certainly can understand and enjoy this book without having read The Chronicles of Narnia, if you have read those books, you can't help but see how this book takes those events and characters and asks, "What if?" What might happen after Narnia, to someone like Lucy who loved that world with all her heart? Why might Susan have made the decision to become very grown up, as far from her fantasy-realm self as possible? I felt that this book was both a love letter to and a criticism of Narnia. However, I didn't find the Woodlands sections themselves very compelling, which is why I'd rate this book 4.5 instead of 5 stars -- there just wasn't enough depth there to really convey why Evelyn felt such an emotional connection. Understandable, since this book isn't really about the Woodlands, it's about life after. Still, I felt that those portions paled in comparison with the rest of the book, which brought tears to my eyes more than once. Highly recommended both to those who loved and still love Narnia, and to those who loved but found themselves disillusioned by it later on. ( )
  foggidawn | Jan 9, 2019 |

Evelyn, Philippa, and their older brother Jamie Hapwell were transported to the Woodlands from a bomb shelter in London when Evie wished "Anywhere but here." Evie is immediately smitten with the place and feels right at home; her older siblings agree to stay only once the stag Cervus assures them that he can return them to the very moment they left London, no matter how long they stay. The Woodlands, too, is on the brink of war, and the siblings feel duty-bound to help save the Great Wood and its creatures.

After several years in the Woodlands, though, they do return home, but Evie never quite adjusts, and Philippa, after many years propping her sister up, eventually decides to go to college in America. She returns to England only when Evie disappears from school. Has she finally found a way to return to the Woodlands ("A Woodlands heart always finds its way home"), or has she disappeared in more earthly sense?

A little slow to start, but ultimately absorbing. The author is completely successful in capturing the atmosphere, both of war- and post-war London and of the magical Woodlands (which feel familiarly like Narnia, but fresh enough). Part I belongs to Evie, Part II to Philippa. Evie's sense of isolation, displacement, and homesickness permeate the first section, while Philippa is determined to make a life in the real world. (The siblings' closeness shuts their parents out almost entirely.) The resolution is the perfect one for the story.

Many poems are included, in full or in part, in the text; "Resources in order of appearance" are listed at the end.


Memory is a sharp-edged knife I can't help but cut myself on, no matter how carefully I wield it. (Evelyn, 67)

"...The heart of a woman falls back with the night,
And enters some alien cage in its plight,
And tries to forget it was dreamed of the stars
While it breaks, breaks, breaks on the sheltering bars." (178)

But I can't see my way clear of these woods. I can't bring myself to forgive my brother and sister for what they've made me give up. (179)

I'm sorry, Ev. I'm sorry. But we're all drowning and I'd held you up for so long. I couldn't take the weight anymore, not if I wanted to keep my own head above water. (Philippa, 213)

"I hate not being sure what to do with myself - whether I should hurt or hope, because I can't manage both at once, and I'm caught between the two." (Phil to Jack, 270)

I couldn't live in her world so I brought her back, and now she can't live in mine. (291)

"You show mercy to others, and save none for yourself." (Jack to Phil, 294)

"Heroes do something extraordinary, when they might have chosen to do otherwise. Brave people just bear up under their circumstances and do their best. There's a whole world full of brave people out there, all trying to muddle through. And honestly, I don't think heroes are worth more at the end of the day. Sometimes it takes greater courage to learn to live again when you think your life's over, than it does to risk it in the first place." (Phil to Jack, 300)

I reach out and hold tight to my sister's hand because I can't fathom going home without her, but can't imagine her anywhere but here. (337) ( )
  JennyArch | Nov 14, 2018 |
The Light Between Worlds is actually quite a great novel, the characters are well developed and the themes of depression and unhealthy coping are thoroughly explored, I just didn't really get on with it. The atmosphere was too melancholy for me. I felt like the world building and writing style just didn't grip me enough, and I didn't feel the characters longing for the Woodlands as I felt like I should have based on their emotions.

The two POVs were very unique and definitely didn't feel the same. Both Evelyn and Phillipa had their own style and issues that they were dealing with, and the author did a wonderful job portraying these. I think that I just couldn't relate to them, and so I couldn't relate to their story or situations.

The Woodlands world seemed really interesting, and I wish we had got to be in it longer, and gotten more than just snippets of the girls' memories of their time there. IT felt too fleeting, and I couldn't get a feel for how things were for them. I wanted more from that part of the novel. It definitely hard Narnia vibes, but was still different in it's own way.

Overall, this could be a very powerful, and emotional book for some readers, it just wasn't for me. ( )
  jdifelice | Sep 6, 2018 |
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