Moving back to South Carolina after three years away, Charlotte knows she’s going to have to face people from her past and adjust to a new high school, but she’s completely unprepared for what else waits for her in Charleston.
Drawn through an old garden gate, Charlotte discovers a hidden world where she meets Calvin, a boy to whom she is inexplicably attracted. As Charlotte is pulled deeper into this hidden world, it’s up to her older brother Kevin to rescue her. No matter how hard Kevin tries, the rescue depends upon Charlotte fighting her intense feelings for Calvin while mastering a set of abilities that she has only just discovered she possesses.
Lovers of Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, and C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books will highly enjoy this first novel in the Afterglow trilogy! Ivy paints a beautiful world on the other side of the garden door, and I felt like I was traveling there alongside Charlotte as she ventured over to start her new life. Of course, looks can be deceiving and as the story unfolds, we learn the many intricacies of the new world Charlotte inhabits… and not all are good or what they seem.
I really enjoyed Charlotte’s character in this novel. While there is “instant love,” Ivy takes the time to explain the culture and magical connections behind it, making it feasible and swoon worthy. The love connection is also not portrayed as “perfect,” like so many stories out there, and I loved that Charlotte is a strong young woman, able to keep her wits about her and make decisions that, though extremely difficult, elevate her to a mature young woman intent on doing what is right for the good of all, and not just for her own selfish desires. I really enjoyed getting to know her throughout the novel and I can’t wait to see what happens between her and Calvin/Liam in the next installment of this enticing read.
I also really liked that this novel, though mainly focusing on Charlotte’s plight, is told through the point-of-view of both Charlotte and her brother, Kevin. This allowed me to know what was going on in all aspects of the story, and I always love having multiple perspectives. I can imagine it makes writing a story extremely difficult, but Ivy does a superb job focusing on each character and flawlessly bringing them together, though I would have liked a little more information about Kevin’s time with Monty and his group as I felt that section was a little rushed in order to get to the climax of the story. In the end, though, I thought Ivy did a superb job and I really enjoyed this novel. Four stars.
I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.