Click here to read reviewer Luan Gaines' take on Godmother, or here to read Swapna Krishna's review.
Gravitating between Cinderella’s magical fairy land and massive New York City with “its buildings like mountains,” the main protagonist in this novel aches for her old loves to be returned to her. The wrinkled-up and dull-haired Lil is wracked with a
terrible unexplained grief, “like a wave that rises from nowhere and pulls you into itself.” Leading a dissolute life, Lil works by day in a secluded bookshop and takes dinner at a lonely diner. At night she goes home to
a ramshackle apartment that seems to be gradually caving in on itself.
For so long hemmed in by the shadows of her troubled soul, Lil’s clear-eyed memories of a fairy world have become the repository of all of the loss and disappointments that pervade much of her life. Lil aches to get back to her world
- where the blue water is so bright that it tastes of berries and she spends her days flying above a silvery, glittery lake
- and be reunited with her fairy sister, Maybeth, and her delightful friends Lucibell, and Gladys, whom she remembers as “tiny lights like stars.”
Haunted by a thoughtless mistake, Lil, once “a perfect little creature,” went against the wishes of her elders and dared to become a human form, ultimately capturing the attentions of Prince Theodore, who was hosting a ball in order to pick a wife.
It is the fairy’s destiny to ensure that Cinderella should become Queen. In a kingdom that seems drunk with music and drink and promise, only Lil can get Cinderella to the ball as human vanity conspires against it and her stepsisters and her wicked stepmother so desperately try to prevent it.
Only through the haze of years that have passed since Lil has been banished to earth do the random images of a life that might have been float up as if from an abyss.
When Veronica, with multitudinous rings and black nails, arrives at the bookshop showing Lil the book of the Cottingley Fairies all so pale and ghostlike, Lil suddenly becomes aware that redemption and deliverance are now
possible. Perhaps her boss, George, and the vivacious Veronica can attend their own ball and bring to completion the circle of magic and love and the desire that “the world of the faerie can be manifest in the world of men.”
Leading us through her kaleidoscopic dreamworld of silvery lakes, enchanted castles, a Cinderella whose destiny is set and a prince who aches for his one true love -
as well as a Godmother forced to endure the shocking ramifications of her betrayal - Turgeon embeds her pages with a rich and translucent resonance that stays with the reader long after the final haunting page is turned.
Her life ambiguous to the last, Lil aches for the day she was once the perfect human, her skin pale and luminous and her eyes like emeralds, fringed by dark lashes. In a world where color and light abound, it is Lil’s destiny
to finally spread her great white fairy wings and embrace a life unsullied by shame. Eventually two disparate worlds are brought seamlessly together, and Lil’s pain and emptiness and grief, all of her terrible, longing is shown to be nothing but a cruel apparition which can
be finally put to rest.