editor's choice





The premise of Helen Fisher’s novel, Space Hopper, is wonderful. What would you do if you could go back in time and be with a loved one?

That’s the dilemma of thirty-something, happily married Faye, who still grieves for the mother she lost at a very young age, more so as her own children grow and she realises just how much she missed out on through Jeanie’s early death.

My mother was like a fairy tale to me, and as I grew up I suppose she became what fairy tales become to all adults: an allusion, a magical story that seemed to say one thing, but mean something else.

But then the seemingly inexplicable happens: Faye finds an old space hopper box, which features in a treasured photo from the past, and through it gets her greatest wish, more time with her mother. She is transported back to the past, to the seventies, when her mother and Faye’s younger self are alive. Suddenly Faye is able to ask her mother in person all the many things she’s wanted to know, even though Jeanie has no idea who Faye really is. The only problem is she has to lie to her loved ones, especially her husband, Eddie, who will never understand. As the past has the potential to impact on Faye’s current, rather perfect life, she must decide what is most important to her.

This is a beautifully realised book, inhabited by lovely, warm characters. Faye’s quiet observations are heart-rending at times, particularly for those of us who lost mothers at far too young an age. The questions that are raised, the feelings that Faye has are all too familiar. What we wouldn’t we do to see our mothers again, even for just a few moments. How much more we feel the loss of that person as we get older, and at key events in our lives. Fisher’s writing captures these emotions and more. Yes, it’s a suspend all disbelief kind of novel, but isn’t that we need at the moment? That little bit of hope, that bit of magic to take us out of our current world.

I loved Space Hopper. I can’t recommend it enough.


Space Hopper | Helen Fisher | Simon & Schuster |February 2021 | hardback |

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Acknowledgements: Quoted text © Spacehopper Ltd 2021.This review is published as part of the virtual book tour. Many thanks to lovely Anne Cater of Random Things Tours, as always, and to the publisher for sending us a book proof and jacket image. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other wonderful reviewers on this tour and please share them.

Also of interest:Alice Walker and the power of poetry‘; ‘By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Sylvia Plath on poetry‘; ‘WB Yeats, “The Journey of the Magi“‘; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

This review is copyright © 2020 by The Literary Shed. All rights are reserved. All opinions expressed are our own. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please contact us for permission and provide the necessary credit. Thank you so much. We welcome your feedback.




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