The Light Between Worlds by Laura Weymouth
From Goodreads: Five years ago, Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell cowered from air strikes in a London bomb shelter. But that night took a turn when the sisters were transported to another realm called the Woodlands. In a forest kingdom populated by creatures out of myth and legend, they found temporary refuge.
When they finally returned to London, nothing had changed at all—nothing, except themselves.
Now, Ev spends her days sneaking into the woods outside her boarding school, wishing for the Woodlands. Overcome with longing, she is desperate to return no matter what it takes.
Philippa, on the other hand, is determined to find a place in this world. She shields herself behind a flawless exterior and countless friends, and moves to America to escape the memory of what was.
But when Evelyn goes missing, Philippa must confront the depth of her sister’s despair and the painful truths they’ve been running from. As the weeks unfold, Philippa wonders if Ev truly did find a way home, or if the weight of their worlds pulled her under.
Please note that there are content warnings for this book that are available to view by clicking the goodreads link above.
The Light Between Worlds was one of those books that I’ve heard a little about and was curious, so I was happy when I got this book in the October box. The book opens strongly, with readers being immediately thrust into the action. We start with Evelyn’s POV and it was nice to see how strong a character she was throughout. Her chapters alternate between memories of the Woodlands and our own world, so seeing how differently her character behaves in each setting was one of the major draws of this book for me. There were also a lot of well-developed characters throughout the book, including Tom and Philippa. I liked how different they were to each other and how they reacted to one another. They seemed very realistic, particularly as they had relationships and reactions to one another outside of the main characters. I really liked this touch.
There are several trigger warnings that are worth mentioning in this review, as the book deals a lot with depression. However, what struck me throughout is how well written these scenes are. There has clearly been a lot of thought gone into these scenes and a lot of research, and as someone who struggles with mental health problems, I really appreciate that Weymouth takes her time to tackle this in such a strong way.
I was a bit put off by how similar the book was to Narnia. In many ways, there were lots of threads between them, including having a magical, almost omniscient talking animal at the helm of the magical land, centaurs, lone lamposts and the whole world war two backdrop. I know there are reasons for this, and the book does concentrate a lot on what happens afterwards, so in some ways it is a bit like an exploration of how Lucy would feel after coming back from Narnia and having to be a child in our world again, but I just sometimes struggled to see beyond the Narnia links. It seemed a bit borrowed, rather than entirely original. And while I enjoyed reading about the magical land of the Woodlands, I wasn’t as in love with it as I was with the world through the wardrobe.
Overall, I am giving The Light Between Worlds a 7/10 stars. I liked it, and I enjoyed the characters a lot, but it hugged too closely to elements from C.S. Lewis’ world and I struggled to see beyond that sometimes. However, I definitely praise the book for its honest depictions of mental health and it was a fun read and a good pick for the christmassy feels.
Has anyone else read this book or plans to? What did you all think of it? I’d love to know your thoughts and feelings on the books I review here, so please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below ❤