Rating: 5/5 stars
Trigger Warnings for the review: This review will discuss self-harm, and suicide ideation. Trigger Warnings for The Light Between Worlds will be listed at the end of the review with details of pages and chapters.
I think I can finally write about The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth.
I’ve read this book a couple of times over the past year, and I always meant to live-tweet or live-story update when I read it, especially the first time, but I couldn’t. For many reasons.
I’m biased here, for many reasons, and I’d like to be upfront about that. I know Laura personally, and I’ve loved every tidbit of her writing that I’ve ever read. But I’m also biased because this book meant more to me than I could’ve ever imagined. I feel as though this story is stitched into my very soul now.
There’s a lot I want to talk about for The Light Between Worlds. So let’s start with writing, shall we?
I was enchanted with how Laura weaves together her worlds, how she brings her characters to life with just the right kind of sentence. I could be lost in this book like I’d be lost in an autumn forest. There’s something so refreshing about the way Laura writes; her words are absolutely relaxing and filled with intrigue.
Good Worldbuilding is essential for any fantasy to be at least a three star rating for me. If the Worldbuilding is the kind where anything can happen just for the sake of the plot, I don’t hesitate before putting the book down regardless of how many pages into it I am, or how few I am from finishing it.
Of course, that isn’t the case with The Light Between Worlds. Laura seamlessly transports reader out of this world and into whichever her characters journey through. Her worlds are easy to follow, multitudinous and whimsical in their introductions to us, and throughout the book. The Worldbuilding is one of my absolute favourite things about The Light Between Worlds.
The Light Between Worlds was extremely personal for me. Reading it was like reading about myself, for the most part. This book came to me at a time I needed it most, and I’m so glad I had a chance to read it early on thanks to Laura.
So, you might be wondering why it took me so many rereads to finally be able to write a review for this gift to the universe. The answer is: I was scared. I still am, if I’m being honest. I felt like sharing my love for this book would be like tearing myself apart so you could see how raw this book made me feel.
I loved the main character, Evelyn Hapwell, and I will cherish her forever in my heart. She struggles with self-harm and suicide ideation. She struggled with what I struggle with, obviously for some very different reasons. But also for some very similar ones, too. She was lost and confused and needed to return home, but the home designed for her by everyone around her was simply a house caging her in its walls, and no matter how loudly she screamed, no one listened. She finally stopped asking for a map back home and paved her own path to it, through hardships and obstacles disguised as well meaning people.
At first, that was what I thought. I hated everyone around her, I wondered why they were so bent on deciding what’s best for her, but the more times I read it, the more I saw that I was being a bit too harsh to the people around her there. They were only helping her in the best way they knew, and so often that’s the case for anyone like Evelyn and I. The people around us that love us are concerned and always trying to help us the best way they can, even if we don’t think so. They don’t know any better and so we bury our wants deeper and deeper in fear of scaring them away.
I have my issues with Philipa Hapwell, Evelyn’s sister, but I cannot praise Laura enough for how well she wrote Philipa. Philipa was flawed and struggling, always trying to fight demons while carrying responsibilities of her own, as well as those of others. I don’t think Philipa and I could be friends, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for her.
There’s a particular thing about Philipa I couldn’t help but relate to, and it scared me to think that there are other older siblings that see this too, and that was her holding Ev up. I’ve seen my younger brother in pain, I’ve seen him break down and be lost, and the memories twist me within like nothing else. I’ll never forget it, and reading the ceiling chapter of her bringing Ev back from the pain Ev was going through was far too real for me. If I could, I would take away any pain my brother experiences, and I think Philipa feels the same about Ev.
I want everyone to read this book, of course, but I want everyone to prioritize their mental health when reading this book. The Light Between Worlds is raw to its core and it demands every bit of your attention when you are and when you aren’t reading it.
Trigger Warnings for The Light Between Worlds:
Laura has made a fantastic list of TWs for TLBW on her website (https://www.lauraeweymouth.com/books). I’ve copied and pasted all of them as they’re found on her website below:
“The Light Between Worlds portrays characters dealing with depression, self-harm, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation, illness and disordered eating, and the loss of a loved one. It refers to possible suicide, contains scenes of violence and war, and brief mentions may be unsettling to readers with emetophobia. If you have any questions about these warnings, or require more details, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the contact page.” (Weymouth 2018).
TW: Bombs being dropped from planes.
Chapter 2 on Page 10 describes in detail an attack on London by the Nazis dropping bombs near where Evelyn, Philipa and Jamie (their brother) lived. (From ARC)
TW: Self Harm.
Page 52 is one of the first times we see Evelyn harm herself in the book. (From ARC)
There is one line on page 67 where self-harm is alluded to. (From ARC)
The entirety of Chapter 43, starting page 232, deals with Evelyn self-harming, and Philipa helping her in its aftermath. (From ARC)
Though it’s not called that, and Evelyn seems to struggle with Depression throughout the year after her return, it worsens during the winter months. I don’t have a degree in psychology so unfortunately I don’t know if that’s diagnosable as Seasonal Affective Disorder.