Fable’s journey is related from the perspective of present day and also from reflection of her childhood and up to the time when she meets husband Tony and her life from that time.
The first time we meet Fable, her life is portrayed through family life with husband Tony and daughter Cara. Fable is controlled totally by the emotionally unavailable and dominating Tony ……… from where she has to sit in the front room to what she is allowed to do throughout her day. It is not long before we see the spark of hope ignite when she ‘hears’ Gangan’s voice. Remembering her earlier childhood, Fable immediately starts to defy Tony by preparing herself to welcome the Winter Solstice sun but unfortunately, he returns to the home and catches her in the back garden. Cara also treats her mother in the same way. Toby and Cara have meetings about Fable where they decide what she can and can’t do. Cara treats her with exactly the same disdain.
We experience life before Fable’s birth and early childhood while living with her mother and wise woman Gangan. From Gangan she learns about nature, the seasons turning on the wheel and how we are all connected – Gangan is her stability. Her gypsy mother Jasmine and Gangan also share the home with Peggy. Peggy is spiteful and out for revenge and there lies her motivation for turning Fable’s life upside down.
Fable’s life from the age of 10 after being abducted by Derek (her father) is the polar opposite from the love and belonging she experiences with Jasmine and Gangan. Her father’s housekeeper and her son are against Fable and make life difficult for her. Fable is defiant in this household. It is not until the mysterious death of first love Tobias and further trauma that she loses her way and stumbles a long way from her path.
Fable begins to find herself when she joins a creative writing course at the library. It is from this point that subtle changes start to take place.
Sue Johnson captures a child’s perception beautifully. I think we tend to forget that an adult’s perspective of life is totally different! Reading about Fable’s early life with her first day at school and relating to others brought back a lot of my own childhood memories! I loved the way the author writes about how words ‘taste’ to Fable for example ‘The word assembly tasted to me of crumbly ginger biscuits.’ It is a very sensual book in this respect.
The intimacy between Fable and Tobias is portrayed as sacred and special. The association of colours with the experience is very beautiful. This scene and the re-telling of Gangan’s calls to the heart.
I was totally surprised at the character who is a lynch pin in the turning of the wheel. I had no suspicions that this character was already playing a part in the changes or would be the person to make things happen.
It is very fitting that the ending should begin at the beginning. I was hooked by the promise and hope of what was a possibility in Fable’s future.
I loved the comparisons throughout the story. The figurative language is different, for example ‘The scent of the fruit was intoxicating and the plums were bursting their skins showing glossy yellow fruit underneath like a slashed Elizabethan silk doublet’. How unusual!
Fable’s Fortune is a tale of one woman’s journey through childhood, love, family, heartache and loss to reach the start of the path that she was destined to tread. She experiences (on a psychological level) all the phases of the moon and the fluctuations of the cycles. For me, the moral of Fable’s Fortune is to listen to your intuition because it is your guide and will never lead you on a false path. Listen to that inner voice and your metaphorical feet will be walking one of the paths that will lead you to where you should be going.
Although Fable’s journey is not new for many women around the world or the re-telling of it ………… the unique way the author has written it, the language she uses and taking into account the magical element, these things set it apart from similar stories I have read. For this reason I am giving Fable’s Fortune my highest rating.