Faye, Faraway by Helen Fisher | Book Review [spoiler free]



Faye, Faraway by Helen Fisher is a time travelling adventure novel with the bond between a mother and daughter at heart. Faye is a thirty-eight-year-old woman who is happily married with two beautiful daughters. Her life ought to be perfect. Only her life is dominated by the loss of her mother when she was seven-years-old. She aches to have her mum's advice, to hear her voice, to see her smiling face. One day after some decluttering, Faye's husband brings down a spacehopper box - the very one that Faye remembers playing in as a child. Overwhelmed by nostalgia, she feels a strange kind of connection to the cardboard. After a broken bulb leads her to standing inside of the four cardboard walls, she's suddenly transported back in time to 1977 where her mother is still alive. Torn between the past and the future, Faye has to navigate grief, expectation, and unravel the mystery that seems to surround her mothers death. 

I received this through Net Galley as an ARC and honestly adored it. I didn't know what to expect from Faye, Faraway as not only is it a debut by the author but the premise could've easily flopped. I saw on one site that it was marketed as a mix between Gilmore Girls and The Time Travelers Wife which really don't have anything in common. But it read beautifully. It was such a heartfelt story told through writing that was seamless. Faye as a protagonist was likeable and her problems truly felt like problems, which isn't always something easily accomplished when writing about a middleclass white woman who has the perfect family. 

The mother/daughter dynamics were written very realistically. I'm very close to my mother, so I always magnate towards books that have this as a central topic. I liked that Faye's expectations and memory of her mother were skewed by that daughtery love that so many of us are familiar with. It's so easy to see a parent through rose-tinted glasses. I liked learning about Faye's mother with her, and how different she actually was to the memories.

As with any book or entertainment that discusses time travel, this had the butterfly effect as a crucial storyline. I find this interesting, so although it didn't really bring anything new to the table to this conversation, it was fun reading about the characters discussing it. I'm glad the author brought up the consequences of changing time as she could've so easily skirted over it given that this book is more contemporary than fantasy. 

The one thing that surprised me was how heavily this book spoke about faith. I'm personally not a huge believer in the all mighty but can respect when someone is. However, I don't necessarily want to read about it in my fiction. I think Helen Fisher did a wonderful job at opening up a discussion on religion without ever seeming preachy, allowing it to take over the plot, or fully changing the main characters beliefs to make a "statement". It was handled with the utmost care, which I appreciate. 

Now for the problem.. Faye, Faraway wasn't diverse in the slightest. For a book that's being released in 2021, that's a foresight that can't be overlooked. There was a pretty huge list of characters in this book and, from my memory, not one wasn't white or straight. For that reason alone I had to knock one star from the rating. I hope Helen Fisher does anything to rectify this if she publishes another novel. (Please, please, please, correct me if I'm wrong as my memory isn't the best and I'm going solely from that and my reading notes here.)

All in all, this was a well rounded story that I devoured quickly. The writing reminded me of early Kristin Hannah and Liane Moriarty. It was easy to read while still keeping my interest. For a debut, I'm impressed. Again, thank you to Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read this before it's release date. 

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