Marika is a young girl travelling in the company of her brother to meet her future husband, as has been arranged by her father. However, along the way her brother succumbs to a fever and he departs this world in the compassionate hands of strangers while Marika watches guilt-stricken and grieving from the shadows. After his passing, Marika realizes she has a decision before her – continue on her initial journey towards a man she was promised to wed, or begin a new path, her own path. Magdalena and Joseph, two kind strangers, befriend Marika and join her on her path for awhile. But when the trust Marika placed in Magdalena is betrayed, she flees. Joseph finds her crying near her brother’s grave. He notices something in Marika that no one else had, and he leads her to the magical woods – a place he believes she may belong. It is in this place that Marika is able to finally choose the path she will follow.
The Secret Child hooked me within the first couple of pages. I was amazed at how quickly the author made me care so deeply about the characters. I especially liked Marika’s time in the forest with Cian, Wee Ann, Thackeray, Nan and Bob, and all the other fairies. Healy’s writing made it easy to envision the feasts, the skits, the geese races, the magic of the fairies and other fantastical happenings. And, being the dog lover I am, I truly enjoyed meeting Conrí, the wild pup she rescues from a thorny bush. While this story included hope, innocence and spiritual aspects, it was not without sadness, betrayal and evil such as the death of Danny, slavery, female oppression, and more.
Healy’s talent lies not only in the story, but in the actual storytelling. Simply stated, the words flowed and made The Secret Child enjoyable and interesting to read.
Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5
Appropriate for ages 14 & up.
For more information about Marti Healy, check out her website!
A special thanks to The Book Hub for a free copy of “The Secret Child” to read and review!!!