In the first part of Foxglove Summer, PC Grant is out of his comfort zone – but is he out of his depth? Signs point to … Maybe?
This review will cover chapters 1-4 of the book, with spoilers.
The end of Broken Homes saw a very sudden plot twist take Peter by surprise and up-end much of the character drama that had, until then, been developing pretty steadily. With Lesley having (apparently) betrayed her friends to side with the Faceless Man, this book could have gone in one of two likely directions. One, Peter could have gone right off the rails and gone after her, though that would most definitely NOT have ended well for anybody, I imagine – Peter least of all. Or two, and thankfully this is the direction things have gone in: he could step back, catch his breath and bide his time, and in this case he’s also keeping on with the regular police work until some more solid evidence lets him get to grips with what Lesley’s done and why.
This is the smart option, obviously, but it’s also the one that sparks more sympathy in me because it seems to me that setting Lesley’s betrayal aside for now might not have been enough for Peter: he thinks of her in terms of the past tense, like she’s dead to him now instead of still out there somewhere. These instances where he does let himself think of her really stood out to me for taking that turn, and while I do sympathise, I also can’t help wondering if this means he’s sitting on some much hotter emotions until he can properly let them out … which I also wouldn’t blame him for, to be quite honest. At least not at this stage. Lesley does appear to have (almost literally) stabbed him in the back, and that has to have hurt him more than he’s letting on.
But there’s a pin in that story for now, and I can appreciate the chance afforded to readers for things to slow down a little. One can only handle so much wild drama, after all – and regardless, it looks as though Peter’s going to have his plate pretty full with or without Lesley on his mind.
Someone with access to magic has kidnapped a pair of young girls. Not only that, but it happened in the country, and not within Peter’s usual London stomping grounds. So not only is he trying to tackle this case alone for the time being, but he’s doing it quite literally outside of his comfort zone(s).
This has a lot of potential to go very terriby wrong. And for once, I am eating this plotline up.
I was hoping this series would come to a point where I could finally properly sink my teeth in and engage all of my brain in what was going on, and it looks like Foxglove Summer might have finally brought it to that point.
Now, Peter doesn’t know who or what has kidnapped the two missing girls yet, and therefore neither do I. But I keep having to stop myself from going AAAH FAERIES DID IT because come on. Countryside. Entirely mysterious disappearance that involved both girls leaving their own homes for no apparent reason. Evidence of magic being used to abduct them. It was faeries, right?
I mean, not that I want two innocent kids to be in the hands of potentially malicious fae creatures of any kind. But faerie mischief is totally my weakness, and I’d be really interested to see how Aaronovitch might spin that for this series mythology.
On the other hand it could be something or someone else altogether. I’m only four chapters in, so at this point it’s safer to assume I don’t know anything for sure yet, other than what’s been stated as fact. The girls are missing, and magic was involved in making them disappear.
(Faeries did it.)
I am also chewing quite thoughtfully upon the idea that Peter is, or at least may well be, out of his depth here. As I noted before, he is not in London anymore, he’s operating without his partner and thus without any of the benefits Lesley brought to their teamwork, ie. the methodical approach to working through what they know and figuring out the next steps to take. Working logically and methodically is, as we’ve seen time and again, not Peter’s forte. So how will he do, in a situation where this might be what’s needed to find the girls? And whatever or whoever might have taken them, how will he handle dealing with them when he does find them?
Peter needs help, and I really hope that this is where Beverley Brook comes in, if this is going to be her book as much as his. So far there’s been no sign of her, and I’m trying very hard not to jump to any conclusions – even though, as I’ve said, there’s very little information to go on at this point. If Beverley is to be involved, will she in fact be on Peter’s side in this? And if so, what will she bring to the table?
Something else that’s also proving quite distracting is the way Peter keeps dropping little retrospective hints about Things That Are Going To Go Wrong. For some reason the reader is supposed to be concerned with what Molly might have packed in the luggage he requested from Nightingale for an extended stay? And why is Peter dismissing the notion that aliens did it something he might later regret?
It won’t be aliens. Will it?
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THIS BOOK.