This is a light and fanciful book.
Alice's brother is finally in line for a replacement heart. When the call comes for his surgery, Alice is shunted off to a little known grandmother.
In her worry and agony over her brother and her very temporary position in this place, she is determined not to get involved in the dispute over what her grandmother does with her woods. Her grandmother wants more light in her house, so has slated the trees for removal. People in town say the wood is part of their heritage and must be preserved.
As Alice walks through this wood every day on her way to the local school, she begins to glance things too fanciful to believe. When she meets a girl that no one else knows about, she is sure something is going on in Darkling Wood. And she begins to think maybe it is something worth saving.
I have a soft spot in my heart for people who really care about a place. Place is so important. All the little things, flowers, leaves, bushes, bugs, and birds that put together make the larger picture of a particular area.
Growing up on a dairy farm there was so much space for us to roam. And there were so many little spots that were "mine." I loved those spots. If someone had come along threatening one of my little spots in the hedgerow, rockpile in the middle of the field, or atop a stonewall, I would have felt pretty territorial. So I sympathize with these people wanting to preserve Darkling Wood. I also sympathize with Alice's grandmother who wants more light in her house. Because.... light in a house is a pretty gigantic deal--makes or breaks it in my opinion. So it was interesting to have my sympathies pulled one way and then another.
A bit of magic, a lot of family dynamics, and a dose of love of place and it is a very pleasant little book. This isn't a MUST READ. But anyone who appreciates a fairy and a good family story will have a good time with this one.