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Four Sides to Every Story by Valerie-Anne Baglietto

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful young girl called Lily Rose. Lily Rose was so beautiful that some people thought her touched by magic, but, as is the way with the world, other people thought she was far too pretty and perfect, and didn’t look behind the facade to the real beauty within.

Lily Rose lived with her grandmother, until one day her grandmother died, and then Lily Rose was heartbroken. But she knew that she couldn’t spend the rest of her life grieving, that she had a job to do, and it was time to get back to it. So Lily Rose went out into the world to perform her next task, and found herself in the Cheshire village of Fools Castle.

Now, in most fairytales, the castle that gave the village its name would be beautiful, and inside there would live a handsome prince. But this is not your average fairytale and, sadly, the castle was ugly and out of place, and the man who lived there – Sawyer Ellis – was distracted, unkempt and withdrawn. A hermit-like writer, he was trying his best to care for his late wife’s children, but feared he was failing spectacularly, even with the help of his mother-in-law, Veronique.

Fortunately, Lily Rose could see past the thick, fair hair that needed a good trim, the stubble that needed shaving, and the tatty old shorts and t-shirts. She saw the heart that needed mending. She could also see past the brittle, vain, thoroughly independent veneer that another new arrival in the village – Sophie – showed to the world, and recognised that, like the man in the castle, there was a vulnerability behind the hard exterior. Lily Rose knew that Sophie and Sawyer would make the perfect couple, if only they had a little help. Luckily for Sophie and Sawyer, Lily Rose just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and she knew exactly what to do to give them both a happy ending. So Lily Rose worked her magic and they all lived happily ever after. Except…

What happens when a fairytale refuses to unfold the way it should? What happens when a fairy godmother goes rogue? What happens when two people destined for each other refuse to behave in the way they’re supposed to? As Alexa – Sawyer’s young stepdaughter – watches with increasing wonder, this fairytale starts to meander away from its smooth path to the castle, and twists and turns through increasingly unfamiliar territory, to take the characters on a journey to a destination they could never have imagined in their wildest dreams. In this new land, is a happy ending even possible?

I have loved every one of Valerie-Anne Baglietto’s previous modern-day fairytales but, I have to admit, this has become my new favourite. It’s very difficult to review this properly without giving anything away, and it’s very important that nothing is revealed! Suffice it to say that, by the end of this novel, I was literally in tears, and realised I had invested so much in the outcome of the story that I had been holding my breath, desperate to believe that there could be a happy ending when all seemed lost.

Lily is a fabulous character and I loved her immediately. Sophie intrigued me from the start. Despite her prickly exterior I wanted to know more about her. Sawyer was a hero I fell in love with quite quickly. Despite his failings, he deserved something good to happen to him, and I was rooting for him throughout the book. The children are just delightful. Antony is a typical teenager, and Alexa is an absolute darling. I could see what they’d suffered, and I so wanted them to have a happy ending. I wanted everyone in the book to have a happy ending!

Valerie-Anne writes so beautifully, and I absolutely adore her books. I’m in awe of her talent, and I honestly think that the only criticism I have of this book is that I’ve finished it now and will have a long wait for the next one!

If you haven’t read The Little Book of Lost Hearts, I suggest you also try that. It’s a stand alone prequel to Four Sides to Every Story, and it’s a delightful novella. You can read my review here and buy it here.

As you will come to realise when reading this enchanting tale, anything is possible, and magic really does exist. That being so, I give Four Sides to Every Story 6/5!  🙂

Buy Four Sides to Every Story here.