Fantasy, realism collide in Timothee de Fombelle’s The Book of Pearl

THE BOOK OF PEARL, by Timothee de Fombelle, Candlewick, Feb. 6, 2018, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)

Fairy tale meets real life in Timothee de Fombelle’s The Book of Pearl.

Joshua Pearl comes from a world that we no longer believe in — a world of fairy tale. He knows that his great love waits for him there, but he is stuck in an unfamiliar time and place — an old-world marshmallow shop in Paris on the eve of World War II. As his memories begin to fade, Joshua seeks out strange objects: tiny fragments of tales that have already been told, trinkets that might possibly help him prove his own story before his love is lost forever. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick

Sarah Ardizzone and Sam Gordon translated The Book of Pearl from its original French. It’s a beautiful, layered book that moves at a languid pace. It’s one you really have to stick with, as there’s no real driving force. However, if you stick with it, you’re rewarded with an imaginative read unlike anything you’ve likely read before.

The Book of Pearl alternates between time periods and worlds, which make for a compelling but slightly confusing first couple of chapters. Further in, elements begin to make more sense, but mystery remains. The highlight of The Book of Pearl came for me in the final few chapters where events unfold in unexpected and lyrical ways.

The Book of Pearl is part romance, part mystery and part adventure that bends reality and asks you to imagine what if…

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About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

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