Book Review: Wendy, Darling by A.C. Wise

About the Book:

Find the second star from the right, and fly straight on ’til morning, all the way to Neverland, a children’s paradise with no rules, no adults, only endless adventure and enchanted forests – all led by the charismatic boy who will never grow old.

But Wendy Darling grew up. She has a husband and a young daughter called Jane, a life in London. But one night, after all these years, Peter Pan returns. Wendy finds him outside her daughter’s window, looking to claim a new mother for his Lost Boys. But instead of Wendy, he takes Jane.

Now a grown woman, a mother, a patient and a survivor, Wendy must follow Peter back to Neverland to rescue her daughter and finally face the darkness at the heart of the island…

Published by Titan Books

Released 1st June 2021

My Thoughts:

Wendy, Darling is both a retelling and a sequel to the classic novel by J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan. Now, if you’re coming to this novel with the Disney version of Peter Pan foremost in your mind, well, you’re in for a bit of a rude awakening. But if you have read the original Peter Pan as an adult, this may seem like a more plausible direction. Or not. Depends how open you are to reinterpretations of classic texts. I like them, particularly if they are intelligently thought out, as this one is.

Wendy, Darling is a genre bending delight: fantasy, historical fiction, suspense, and a shade of horror. It’s quite an introspective novel, particularly in the chapters told from Wendy’s perspective. There is a lot of internal analysis on the effects that being whisked away to Neverland had on Wendy in the days, months, and years following her return. I enjoyed the structure, with the story see-sawing between the present and key moments of Wendy’s past. Whilst her brothers, John and Michael, feature in the novel as supporting characters, we are only privy to their experiences via Wendy’s perspective. The other perspective we are treated with is that of Jane, Wendy’s daughter, and Peter Pan’s current focus. I liked the mother-daughter dual perspective, particularly in the parts where we would see the daughter through the mother’s eyes and vise-versa. This is a particularly well structured and well thought out novel in both the telling and the characterisation.

Important themes underlie the narrative and I felt like reading Wendy, Darling offered so much insight into the original Peter Pan. We read these books as children and think only of the adventure, yet as an adult, we can often see something different within the story, a deeper intent by the author. I love the direction A.C. Wise’s thoughts have gone in for this novel. It all just made so much sense and seemed like a seamless continuation of what J.M. Barrie began. I highly recommend this novel if you are a fan of Peter Pan and/or classic retellings. Devastatingly haunting, Wendy, Darling is a novel I will remember long after turning the last page.

‘She could show him mercy. She believed him to be her friend once, after all. But the world already makes too much room for boys like Peter, boys who under normal circumstances grow up to be men like Ned’s father, who start wars and send boys like Michael home broken. Boys who never face consequences.’

☕☕☕☕☕

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: Wendy, Darling by A.C. Wise

  1. This sounds interesting. I did read Peter Pan as a child, but I think it was an abridged illustrated version so I wonder what I would see in it now.
    I was amazed to discover from a talk at Rare Books Week that Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies had hidden messages about science and evolution within its pages. That certainly went over my head when I read it as a child.

    Liked by 1 person

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