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“Beyond the Hedge ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 03/02/2007

Beyond the Hedge
Roby James
Juno, Jan 2007, $12.95
ISBN: 0809556790

An orphan since her parents and her brother died in an accident, Jennifer Paul is a business executive at Glidden Industries currently based in London. She enjoyed her work for the firm in Boston and initially in London until her boss at both locales moved on to Barcelona, leaving her to cope with the insidious Cobra whose unreasonable assignments are given to her so she would appear to simply want to resign. Thus spending Christmas with her Aunt Cecelia in Wales is a welcome respite.

Accompanied by her greyhound Dragon, she drives towards her Aunt's home when she comes across a barrier on the road; a hedge is where no hedge should be and except for turning around Jennifer has no place to drive. While pondering what is going on, Jennifer takes a canine pit stop when a cat comes out of the hedge talking in the King's English; Dragon chases Malkin the cat back through the hedge. Jennifer follows her dog only to find a strange realm that should not be there. She learns she has stepped into Clipton Magna circa 1805 where King George III still misrules; a place in which nuns created a sanctuary for star-crossed lovers to include the Prince Regent whose marriage to Mrs. FitzHerbert was considered invalid. There Jennifer meets the Squire's son, Jeremy Clipton, who falls in love with Jennifer; but she does not belong there as this is magical land for the star-crossed not the no-crossed. If she fails to leave, the land could die; if she leaves, Jeremy could die of a broken heart.

This is a fun Alice falling through the rabbit hole into a Brigadoon romantic fantasy. In some ways the storyline feels like a time travel tale as the heroine leaves today when she crosses the hedge into the regency era. With a personification spin provided by Malkin and a wise owl (any other kind?), fans will enjoy Jennifer's adventures on the other side of the hedge.

Harriet Klausner

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