book review, fantasy

Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings

Beautifully written and illustrated, this slim volume is a feast for the senses.

Bettina Scott focuses on being polite and mannerly, and listening to her mother, until a mysterious note sends her on a journey to discover the whereabouts of her missing father and brothers.

Joining her are former friends, Trish and Gary. Interspersed with retellings of classic fairy tales with an Australian twist, will these brave adventurers be successful on their quest?

Kathleen Jennings is a talented illustrator, and she made the beautiful cover and chapter images for this book. One look at her art shows the detail and heart she puts into her work, and she carries this into her writing as well.

I fell in love with the opening of this novella. Described in minute detail, the crumbling rural community of Runagate comes alive as a character in its own right.

I was immediately drawn to straight laced Bettina, her head full of her mother’s advice, as she cycled around the decaying town. The fact that mystery shrouded her only made her more interesting.

My favorite parts of the novella were the chapters devoted to other members of the community. There’s beauty and the beast with a thylacine. Aladdin in an old mine. The pied piper eradicating lantern flowers. These magical tales tie in with the main story in an ingenious way.

Unfortunately, as Bettina’s story continued, I became disenchanted with it. I had assumed she was in her twenties or thirties, that the disappearance of her father and her brothers was an event in the distant past, and she had grown as dusty and worn down as everything else in the town. The fact that she was only 19 didn’t ring true for me.

I also expected more from the mystery with her family. I surmised most of it from the first couple of chapters, and I didn’t find the chapters detailing her journey added much to her character or the magic of the tale.

I award Flyaway

Flyaway is available for $8.90 ebook and $19.99 print book on Amazon.


Read my review of Kathleen Jennings’ fantasy short story, The Heart of Owl Abbas.

5 thoughts on “Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings”

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