The Hazel Wood meets The Astonishing Color of After in this dreamy, atmospheric novel that follows sixteen-year-old Eli as she tries to remember what truly happened the night her mother disappeared off a glacier in Norway under the Northern Lights.
According to Arctic legend, if you whistle at the Northern Lights, they’ll swoop down and carry you off forever. Sixteen-year-old Eline Davis knows it’s true because it happened to her mother. Eli was there that night on the remote glacier in Svalbard, when her mother whistled, then vanished.
Years later, Eli is living with her dad on Cape Cod. When Eli discovers the Northern Lights will be visible for one night on the Cape, she hatches a plan to use the lights to contact her missing mother. And it works. Her mother arrives with a hazy story of where she’s been all this time. Eli knows no one will believe them, so she keeps it all a secret. But when magical, dangerous things start happening–narwhals appearing in Cape Code Bay, meteorites landing in the yard by the hundreds, three shadowy fairytale princesses whispering ominous messages–the secrets start to become more like lies.
It’s all too much, too fast, and Eli pushes her mother away, not expecting her to disappear as abruptly as she appeared. Her mother’s gone again, and Eli’s devastated. Until she finds the note written in mother’s elegant scrawl: Find me where I left you. And so, off to Svalbard Eli goes.
You sometimes come across a book that completely takes you by surprise. It kind of just reaches into you and grasps your soul with a chilling hold that is hard to simply shrug off. It consumes your thoughts, has you awake at 1 AM bawling your eyes out and thinking about the people you’ve lost.
I don’t even remember what I was expecting going into The Wide Starlight but I feel such utter heartbreak after finishing this beautiful story. My heart aches for Eline, for all that she’s lost and went through.
Nicole’s beautiful lyrical, metaphorical prose and the way Eli’s journey is told in a fairytale sense made the story all the more endearing. I think many of us who’ve lost someone the way Eli lost her mother struggle to find stories that can show how painful it really is. Dealing with loss and grief consumes you in a way that makes it hard to face reality and it was portrayed so prominently accurate here that I am affected beyond words can even explain.
Such an emotional, vivid tale of grief, loss, and heartache. My heart hurts. My soul hurts. And I need more readers to experience this story.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an early copy in exchange of an honest review.