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The Light Between Worlds

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
The Light Between Worlds Book Poster Image
Heartfelt fantasy emphasizes emotion and magic.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The Light Between Worlds explores themes from classic fantasies, such as the Narnia Chronicles, but from a different angle. It asks what happens to children forced to abandon a beloved fantasy world. Postwar England is vividly depicted.

Positive Messages

Promises are meant to be kept. There are all kinds of ways to define a home. There is magic in the world, if you know where to look for it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Even though they cause each other pain, the Hapswell children love each other intensely. Each has a unique take on their adventures in the Woodlands, causing especially fraught feelings between Philippa and Evelyn.

Violence

The Woodlands and London are each embroiled in war, but the description of the destruction is mostly secondhand. An exception is the bloody death of a villain.

Sex

Both Evelyn and Philippa have male admirers, who mostly behave as you'd expect well-brought-up children of the 1940s to. They exchange kisses but are not otherwise physical with each other.

Language

A "damn" and a "hell" or two.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There is a suggestion that Philippa has tasted alcohol in the past.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Light Between Worlds is a fantasy novel written in response to the work of C.S. Lewis. It recounts the adventures of children whisked away to a magical fantasyland. Swearing is limited to a "damn" or a "hell" or two. Although set in wartime, violent acts are reported mostly secondhand, until the bloody death of a villain. Sexual content amounts to little more than flirting and kissing.

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What's the story?

As THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS opens, the Harpswell children are somehow whisked away from London during World War II to the magical Woodlands. They spend six years there before returning home as if no time at all has passed. While Jamie and Philippa are happy to resume their mundane lives, Evenlyn pines desperately to return to the Woodlands. When she goes missing, her siblings need to find out whether she found a way home, or whether something more sinister happened to her.

Is it any good?

Most people wonder what it might be like to live in a land full of magic, but this clever, evocative, and heartfelt fantasy demonstrates the dangers in having your wishes granted. Debut novelist Laura E. Weymouth crafts an enchanting tale of loss and renewal, getting inside the heads of two very different sisters who question the meaning of home. Both postwar London and the Woodlands are depicted with grace and specificity. The Light Between Worlds seems to be a stand-alone adventure, benefiting from a deep sense of resolution at its end. Fans of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein are likely to be especially pleased with it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The Light Between Worlds is written in response to the work of C.S. Lewis. Why do tales of magical worlds remain so popular? What is it about folklore and myth that makes them relevant to modern readers?

  • How does a person decide where home is? Is it the location where one was born? The place your friends are?

  • What might it be like to be taken away from everything familiar in your life? How might you learn the rules for fitting in to a strange culture?

Book details

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