Anna is angry and upset. Her mum and her new stepdad are away on their honeymoon; she has to go to stay with a father she has scarcely knows and his new family in their home on the west coast of Ireland. However, it is a magical place and she soon makes friends with her cousin, Jenny though her little step-brother, Jack is a nuisance. But who is the mysterious Daniel? Why does she feel she is being watched? Then Jack disappears and Anna realises why the house is called Fairy Hill. Has Jack been stolen away? But why and who will believe her?
Conlon-McKenna brings together elements that are familiar ingredients in children’s literature; the fractured family, new relationships and friendships, change, the world of faerie and folk lore. They are familiar, indeed, but here skilfully woven together to create a warm-hearted story of family and friendship, of change and acceptance with just the right amount of jeopardy bringing an element of danger and potential loss. Anna, her feelings of anger, her impatience with a younger sibling, her reluctant warming to both her new family and to a new cousin, are real and believable and will strike a chord with young readers. The folk tradition of the changeling is a powerful one and particularly appropriate here. Conlon-McKenna’s style is accessible and attractive, allowing for just enough description to create a sense of place, while a good use of dialogue engages the immediate attention. Traditional storytelling beautifully handled.