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Orfeia by Joanne M. Harris

Published : 3rd September 2020

Publisher : Gollancz

Format : Kindle, Audio, Hardback

Genre : Fantasy

* All words highlighted in Grey are links to either purchase from a range of sellers or links to the authors sites.


When you can find me an acre of land,

Every sage grows merry in time,

Between the ocean and the sand Then will you be united again.

So begins a beautiful and tragic quest as a heartbroken mother sets out to save her lost daughter, through the realms of the real, of dream, and even into the underworld itself.

But determination alone is not enough.

For to save something precious, she must give up something precious, be it a song, a memory, or her freedom itself . . .

My Review

'They say the madcap Queen of May once fell in love with a man of the folk, and followed him to his world, forsaking her life and her memory. All of the faerie grieved for her, and longed for the day when she might return, but the Queen had forgotten her kingdom, her glamours, her kindred and even her name, so that she could never look back, or recognise her people.
Only sometimes in her dreams, did she catch a glimpse of what she had lost, and heard the music of days gone by, and awoke with tears on her pillow. And yet she was happy with her man and the daughter they had together.'

I absolutely loved this story.

The entire book is told from Fay's perspective. She lives alone in London. After losing her husband and her daughter Fay is just drifting her way through life on the edge of depression until one day whilst on a run she comes across some homeless people who encourage her to sit with them.

They start smoking a herb called Madcap and the smoke makes Fay light headed, she accepts a dance from a man she recognises but cannot quite place and she starts to feel totally caught up within the music and the smoke.

That is until Fay sees a crack in the floor that is illuminating a light from below Fay decides to go and take a look even though her new friends are asking her not to. Fay bends down and looks into the light between the crack and sees far down below her daughter, asleep lying in a forest on a bed of bluebells. This is where Fay's journey starts as she goes on an adventure to get back her daughter from a magical realm that has existed within London beneath and to find out why everyone keeps calling her Queen Orfeia.

Along the way Fay hears rhymes, places and verses that she recognises but can not place, and also meets fae folk and other beings that are trying to prevent her from getting back her daughter, but Fay must keep her wits about her and remember why she is on this quest because every gift and token she accepts loses her another memory and it is not long before she has to start writing down all the precious memories of her life with her husband and daughter so that she has something to remind her because its only in losing herself completely can she ever hope to reach her little girl.

Why I Loved It


What a story. This was such a lovely modern fairytale that I found myself totally immersed within the magic of its pages. Utterly consumed by the endless rhymes and my heart just totally broke for a mother who is desperate to do whatever it takes, to lose herself entirely just so she can have back the daughter that she lost.

Every other chapter has such a beautifully illustrated picture, they add the final piece of perfection to this beautiful book.

I honestly didn't expect the ending, I loved it, but didn't expect it. But I totally get it as a mother myself and I would have done exactly the same thing.

Heart wrenching, magical and and completely atmospheric, this is a read that every bibliophile should read and treasure on there shelves.

So take a deep breath, open the first page and immerse yourself within this tale...



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Meet the author

Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French writer, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp.

CHOCOLAT has sold over a million copies in the UK alone and was a global bestseller. She is an Honorary Fellow of St Catherine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded an MBE by the Queen. Her hobbies are listed in Who's Who as 'mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion'. She plays bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16 and runs the musical storytelling show Story time. Joanne lives with her husband in Yorkshire, about 15 miles from the place she was born

Connect with Joanne




Books by this author

The Strawberry Thief


The Blue Salt Road

Claire's Similar reads

The Queens Rivals by Anne o Brian

The Wonderland Collection by Lewis Carroll

Little Fire and Fog by Richard Parks

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this review, if you have read this book why not drop me a line telling me your thoughts?

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