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Review: Wishful Thinking by Helen Harper

Wishful Thinking by Helen Harper
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Age category: Adult
Release Date: August 26th 2019

This is my first time reading Ms. Harper’s work, and it’s clear from the first few pages of Wishful Thinking that I’m in the hands of a strong writer. The narrative is clever and fun, the right mix of mundane and magic.

In the book, a dope fairy (the existence of which is just an awesome way to open the book) named Saffron gets a sudden offer to join the elite group of fairy godmothers. She’s ecstatic at first until she realizes she might not have been called in because of her fairy skills but rather because of the disturbing number of disappearances of fairy godmothers lately. The office is short-staffed, everyone is stressed out, and nobody seems to think she’s capable of anything or deserves to be there. It’s the type of scenario a lot of people can relate to. And the more Saffron gets told she can’t do something, the more determined she becomes to find a way she can, sometimes making rash decisions that backfire.

I found Saffron to be a likable character. She’s the person who takes extreme pride in her work, whether anyone else thinks its important or not. Throughout the process of trying to locate the missing fairies, she always has her goal of being a fantastic fairy godmother strong in her mind. She also goes out of her way for her clients even when she doesn’t have to.

The office politics didn’t always pull me in, but I’ve also never worked in a formal office setting (teacher here!) so I’m willing to concede that the disconnect there might simply be my own lack of experience. I did appreciate that the office bullies were rounded out as the story progressed.

If I had any complaint about the book, it would be that I would have liked for the mystery of the vanished fairies to be more of a mystery–subtle clues for me to pick up and piece together. Especially since finding the fairies drives the majority of the plot. But Wishful Thinking is really more about Saffron’s struggle to fit in, her identity crisis in relation to what job she truly wants, and how far she’s willing to go for her goals. When information relevant to the disappearances does come up in conversation, there’s usually some hand-waving that cues the reader in. Often one character will chide another for going off-topic. Not everything I thought would be important later ultimately was, but I did guess what happened to the fairies pretty early on.

The humor was refreshing, and I laughed aloud (or at least snickered) several times during the book. Overall, it is absolutely worth a try. If you fall in love with Saffron on the first few pages, you’ll be hooked for the whole book. Ultimately, the story is less about solving a mystery and more about Saffron growing in her determination and perseverance, regardless of what others tell her.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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