Saturday, 23 July 2011

Book Review: The Girl With Glass Feet


  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (1 Jan 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 9781843549208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843549208
  • ASIN: 1843549204

A novel to fall in love with - for anyone who loved the escapism of "The Time Traveller's Wife" and "The Memory Keeper's Daughter". A mysterious metamorphosis has taken hold of Ida MacLaird - she is slowly turning into glass. Fragile and determined to find a cure, she returns to the strange, enchanted island where she believes the transformation began, in search of reclusive Henry Fuwa, the one man who might just be able to help...Instead she meets Midas Crook, and another transformation begins: as Midas helps Ida come to terms with her condition, they fall in love. What they need most is time - and time is slipping away fast.


The Girl With Glass Feet is one of those rare reads that grab you and hold you hostage, unflinchingly until you have devoured the story. It has the eerie, almost ethereal qualities like the Time Traveller’s Wife, but also firmly footed in our reality.

Ida Maclaird returns to the strange St Hauda’s Land. The first time she visited, it was for a holiday. Now it’s for a cure. Ida encounters the reclusive and socially awkward Midas Crook as he is lost in his world of photography. As a native islander, Ida hopes Midas can help her find the one person she believes can give her the answers she has been searching for.

When Midas stumbles into Ida’s life, it opens up a life time of old wounds that had never healed, only scabbed partially over. The story flits effectively from the present to the past, revealing a loveless and often cruel father and a lifetime of regrets that come from almost every character. Except Ida herself.

It struck me as ironic that the Ida, the girl with glass feet, has nothing to fear. She has lived a full life and even though she is slowly turning into a hardened mineral, she is the wholest of all the cast of characters, the only one who does not fear what is to happening to her. She has no regrets.

The Girl With Glass Feet is a romantic story with a warm heart, but it wasn’t until I finished the book that I realized it was a cleverly disguised paranormal romance. With strange creatures that have the ability to turn anything it looks at to pure white, or the cattle-moths, or glass bodies hidden in bogs, St Hauda’s Land is like no other place. It has an other-wordly quality to it that at times feels fantastical, at others like it could easily happen.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Ali Shaw has created something very special, and it should be adored by everyone. Seriously. 

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