Children - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
250 Pages
Reviewed on 08/08/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

Willowmere by Andrea Cox Christen is a touching story of adventure, longing, and fantasy. Pea has been struggling after the loss of her mother and life without her. During a game of hide and seek with her father, she climbs up a willow tree where she makes a surprising discovery - a necklace with a message from her mother. The discovery opens a bigger mystery about why her mother left the necklace for her to find and where a secret tunnel leads. Pea is led on an adventure to Willowmere - an incredible world brought to life through stories her mother told where she must face dangers that threaten to destroy it. She is left questioning whether her mother could still be alive. With the help of new allies, Pea stands a chance of not only saving Willowmere but finding the answers she seeks.

Andrea Cox Christen does a splendid job of capturing Pea’s emotions as she’s struggling with being alone and longing to see her mother’s smile again. Visiting Willowmere allows her to face these feelings and to get some closure in her life. Loss is a prominent theme and it’s handled in a sweet manner that is perfect for all ages. Several poignant moments are found throughout and serve as a reminder that stories are a way to keep memories of loved ones alive. Willowmere offers a creative way for Pea to explore her grief and longing for her mother by giving her a mystery to solve and a world to explore that was created by her mother’s stories. It’s a lovely representation of her mother’s memory and spirit that allows you to get to know her as more than a presence. Amazing details help establish the magic of the world such as bone walkers, moving plants, and the four trees of Willowmere. The story is told from Pea’s perspective, allowing you to see a child’s view of a grieving parent. The writing has a sweet innocence to it such as the descriptions that include a tree for Charlie Brown and a mist that thickens and folds in on itself like batter. Willowmere is a charming exploration of loss, grief, and acceptance set against a stunning fantasy setting.