Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Audiobook: Second Star to the Right by Mary Alice Monroe

Read by the author
Duration: 11 hours and 57 minutes

Sometimes fairy tales do come true…
As a single mother of two, Faye O’Neill has no time for fairy tales. She’s not even certain she believes in luck. Practical, smart, and desperate to escape a shadowy past, Faye takes a job at a top advertising firm in London where she hopes she and her children can find a fresh start. When she finds the beautiful two-story flat for rent in a stately old Victorian complete with a neglected but tumbling English garden, she can scarcely believe her good fortune. But it isn’t long before Faye realizes not everything in the old home may be as peaceful as it seems.

A strange light begins to appear in her children’s rooms at night, and then there’s the reclusive elderly tenant, Crazy Wendy, her landlady warned her to steer clear of, the woman who spends her evenings spying on Faye’s children from her garret-room window. The woman who believes she is Peter Pan’s Wendy. To make matters worse, Faye, who has sworn off men, discovers her downstairs neighbor Jack is a disturbingly handsome professor with a talent for charming women and children alike. Before she knows it, Faye has embarked upon a whole new adventure into a world where anything might be possible, where broken hearts can be healed by a kiss, and where Neverland may not be a place of fables but a forgotten land one can still find if they are only brave enough to follow the second star to the right.

My thoughts: What a lovely book! This audiobook first grabbed my attention because of its cover, title, and description. I love reading retellings of old stories. I haven't read Peter Pan in a very long time so I thought it will be neat to revisit the classic. Little did I realize that I will come to love this audiobook so much!

The story was very engaging and absolutely heartwarming. We had a mother named Faye who was trying to support herself and her children by accepting a job offer and move to London. There she met Jack, a tenant of Number 14 as well as Mrs. Forrester, aka Crazy Wendy. All the inhabitants soon became a loving family. While the tenants became closer to each other, the question of whether or not Crazy Wendy was really crazy constantly arose. There was a mystery surrounding Wendy Forrester. She lived in the uppermost part of the building known as the Nursery. Her walls were covered by murals of Neverland, the old lady told tales of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, and would stare at the stars every night making sure the window was always open. Faye did not want to believe in the fictitious things, only the practical stuff; she wanted to raise her children in only believing the facts. However, in order to save her children from a traumatic event, Faye had to decide if it was okay to let her children believe in the fantasy world of Crazy Wendy. To make things even more intriguing, Jack was an orphan who could not remember anything before he was six years old. As the events progressed, it was hinted that Jack's past was somehow tied to Mrs. Forrester. The whole time listening to this story had me wondering, was it possible that Crazy Wendy was in fact the Wendy from Peter Pan? If so, then was Peter Pan real?

There were various themes throughout the book but the prominent one was the one I loved best: It is okay to dream and believe in magic. Throughout the book, Faye stood her ground against anything that was fantasy and did not like the idea of having her children believe in anything that was not real. In order for her to break down her walls and relax, Jack made a bet with her at the beginning: If he can prove that there was another dimension, then Faye had to admit that magic exists. Whether or not if this other dimension existed, the idea that it was okay to believe in magic was the important question. Mary Alice Monroe ensured her reader with her book that regardless of one's age, a little magic can still be found around us. It's okay to make believe; it's okay to believe in fairy tales. It is also absolutely okay to let our inner child out and simply hope. I have to admit, this story made me childlike again and definitely made me hope. I found myself shedding a happy tear at the end on how beautiful the message was.

This audio production was read by the author and I am so glad that she did. Because this was her story, Mary Alice Monroe knew exactly how to present it. She knew her characters and she knew the events. I was completely charmed by her storytelling and captivated by her voice. Halfway through listening to the audio, I realized that Ms. Monroe was her own version of Peter Pan's Wendy. If you recalled, Wendy was a wonderful story teller. The Lost Boys adored her because of it. I myself felt as if I were one of the children who was eager to listen more of Wendy's stories just by listening to Ms. Monroe. She definitely had some magic in her.

Overall, this was a fantastic production! I absolutely adored the story and its characters. I especially loved the message that the story portrayed. It had me smiling, tearing up, and laughing. It also made me feel childlike again and made me hope that anything is possible. The big question that this book had was if you believe in magic. All I have to say is...Yes, I do believe. I rate this book:


  1. Oooo, this sounds like an awesome book!! I'll be sure and add it to my ever growing reading wishlist!

    1. If you get to it, I hope you enjoy it! And yes...that wishlist never stops growing :)