Are you suffering through a bit of the Monday Blues? Wishing that you could revert to a simpler time when fairy tales were the topic of the day? Would you like to revisit a beloved classic refashioned into a grown up tale? That is exactly what I have for you today. A dark, seductive and passionate retelling of Peter Pan. I present to you, Hook & Jill by Andrea Jones. This is an exciting and revealing look at all the favorite characters in Neverland, except this time around we see Pan's darker side and Hook's dual nature. If you are hungering for a trip back to childhood with a more grown up flair, read Hook & Jill. I am pleased to have Ms. Jones here to guest post for me today. Here is a bit more about Andrea Jones:
Andrea Jones is author of the Hook & Jill Saga, a series of award-winning novels based upon J.M. Barrie's Neverland, and intended for adult readers. Graduated from the University of Illinois, Jones holds a B.A. in Oral Interpretation of Literature. In her career in television production, she worked for PBS, CBS, and corporate television studios.
Jones is known around the world as “Capitana Red-Hand” of the web-based pirate brotherhood, Under the Black Flag. She is a member of the pirate reenactment troupe, The Brethren of the Great Lakes. Having outgrown the "hideout under the ground," she lives near Chicago.
Hook & Jill is a serious parody of the Peter Pan story. It is Book One of the Hook & Jill Saga. Other Oceans is Book Two. Keep a weather eye; at least five books are planned in this series. You can find out more on Andrea's website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Please welcome Andrea:
How I Got Hooked
By Andrea Jones, author of Hook and Jill
Why do we need another Peter Pan story?
The answer is, we don’t.
109 years ago, Peter Pan first flew onto the London stage. Today our imaginations remain deeply rooted in the Neverland. Prequels, sequels, and spin-offs abound. I can name 20 derivative works created in recent years alone. It’s a gratifying tribute to Sir J.M. Barrie’s talents, but let’s admit it: Peter Pan has gotten out of hand.
Captain Hook has, pun intended, gotten “out of hand,” too, and that’s my point. No doubt you’ve seen Hook portrayed as a righty, Peter as a London street urchin, Tinker Bell as sweet as a lump of sugar, and Wendy being forced to grow up. None of these scenarios harmonize with the original text, nor is the Neverland located on another planet. And that second star to the right? That’s not a star at all. These examples are misconceptions spread by derivative Peter Pan stories. Most recreations of Barrie’s children’s classic aren’t really paying attention to it. Like Peter’s shadow, they’ve taken on a life of their own. And for the record, that animated silhouette wasn’t part of the original tale, either.
Raise your own hand if you’re certain which hand was carved off the captain. Right? Left? Was it the crocodile that chomped off that hand? Can anybody fly once fairy dust and happy thoughts have done their stuff, or only children? Is it true that while one visits the Neverland, one cannot grow old? Does Peter age when he leaves home? Is Tinker Bell alive, thriving, and yanking her rivals’ hair? And why for the love of Pete am I using the word “the” before “Neverland?”
My book, Hook & Jill, is a serious parody of the Peter Pan story, questioning the premise: is it really desirable to remain in childhood, or is it a greater adventure, after all, to grow up? Hook & Jill isn’t a retelling with changes to suit modern sensibilities. It’s not a platform for state-of-the art special effects; it’s not an excuse to capitalize on a popular theme, a no-brainer that’s certain to sell. Rather, Hook & Jill is a tribute to a masterwork, and a vehicle for those who love J.M. Barrie’s Neverland to return to it, now that we’ve grown up.
I’ve rewoven Barrie’s story, plucking the threads of the adult themes at which he so artfully hinted in his children’s tale, (READ THE ORIGINAL BOOK!) and I’ve had the pleasure of creating a grown-up novel, fleshing out Barrie’s character sketches while remaining true to his traditions. I’ve changed few of Barrie’s original elements, and only those necessary to adapt the story for adults. As the synopsis to Hook & Jill states, “An ageless fable grows up.”
Peter, on the other hand, does not. So here are the answers to those questions up above:
Captain Hook was maimed when his right hand was cut off, by Peter Pan, who threw Hook’s hand to the crocodile. It’s in the stage directions, and it’s in the book. So why do Disney and so many other re-creators choose to portray Hook with his deadly iron claw on the left arm? I have my theories.
My first guess is that chopping off a left hand rather than a right seems less of a crime, and absolves Peter of a lot of responsibility. “He’s just a kid,” it says. “He didn’t mean any harm.” But he DID mean to harm Captain Hook. Peter’s action brought dire consequences, for Hook, and for Peter. Hook’s desire to kill Peter and his companions is one very dark result. The loss of that hand was devastating to the captain. He was a master swordsman, a man of letters, an aristocrat. Peter’s act, in fact, altered Hook’s life and purpose. It even changed his name. This heady kind of material is what Hook & Jill, as an adult novel, allows us to explore.
Nowhere in the story does it state Peter’s address as the second “star” to the right, and straight on till morning. It’s simply, “Second to the right, and straight on till morning.” And that isn’t really Peter’s address, anyway. Says Barrie, “even birds, carrying maps and consulting them at windy corners, could not have sighted [the Neverland] with these instructions. Peter, you see, just said anything that came into his head.” I love this quote. It shows Barrie’s gift for demonstrating characterization, and his brilliance with imagery. Can’t you just see those birds, huddling with their feathers flapping in the breeze, squinting at those maps and struggling to hold them down?
As for who can fly, Wendy asserts that “when people grow up they forget the way.” But as my fellow author of the Neverland, Peter Von Brown, (Peter Pan’s NeverWorld and Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between) says in discussingHook & Jill, a loophole may serve those who remain on the Neverland and who are still “steeping in magic.” J.M. Barrie does state, right at the beginning of Peter and Wendy, though, that “All children, except one, grow up.” Peter, therefore, never ages, but all other children do, in the Neverland or out.
At the end of the book, Tinker Bell (not Tinkerbell nor Tinkerbelle) is dead. She didn’t die by some nefarious design of Captain Hook, who has predeceased her by inviting Peter to kick him into the sea (where waited that crocodile), but because “fairies don’t live long.” What’s worse, Peter doesn’t remember her.
I say “the Neverland” because that’s the way Barrie refers to it, all through his work. And why change what the original author decreed, when that work has been beloved for a century and more? Truly, to “improve” on J.M. Barrie’s genius is the topgallant of arrogance. Even Hook would not presume, and nor do I.
So why do we need another Peter Pan story? We don’t, but we DO need to celebrate the wealth of J.M. Barrie’s vision. While writing Hook & Jill, I had the delightful experience of researching the original work. I studied its origins— in Barrie’s own life— its evolution from make-believe with boys in the park (the five Llewelyn Davies boys whom Barrie later adopted), to story-within-another-story (Barrie’s 1902 novel The Little White Bird), to a stage production (“Peter Pan, or, The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up”), to a novel (Peter and Wendy), to a silent movie, two musicals…and, at last, in 2003, a live-action film with a real boy playing the title role.
It was that last item, the 2003 movie, that Hooked me. Casting a boy in the role of Peter, instead of a woman, made the vibes between the sexes come alive. And casting Jason Isaacs as Captain Hook— with a no-nonsense, manipulative attitude alongside primal sexuality— sealed my fate. Not only are the dynamics between the boy Peter and the girl Wendy fresh and exciting, but the sexual undercurrent between Wendy and Captain Hook brings new dimensions to an old, old story. It was enough to cause me to run away to the Neverland and begin life over again, not as a child, but as a grown-up. As a pirate.
And, being Hooked, I can’t stop penning the adventures Barrie’s timeless tale inspires. Other Oceans is Book Two of the Hook & Jill Saga, taking place upon the high seas on the pirate ship. I’m writing Book Three, Other Islands, now. I expect to produce five or more books in the series. Why not, when J.M. Barrie gifted me with the golden treasure of his characters, his concepts, his senses of pathos and humor, and his Neverland…THE Neverland, to quote Hook & Jill, “a work of art that lives on forever.”
A huge thank you to Andrea for taking the time to write up such a fantastic post. You don't want to miss Hook & Jill! To entice you, Andrea is offering a chance to win a copy of Hook & Jill. This is a gorgeous book, you want to have it on your shelf. To enter, please see Contest Policies and fill out the Rafflecopter. This is open to U.S. residents only. Good Luck!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here is my review:
Hook & Jill (Hook & Jill Saga #1) by Andrea Jones
In this startling new vision of a cultural classic, Wendy intends to live happily ever after with Peter Pan. But Time, like this tale,behaves in a most unsettling way. As Wendy mothers the Lost Boys in Neverland, they thrive on adventure. She struggles to keep her boys safe from the Island's many hazards, but she finds a more subtle threat encroaching from an unexpected quarter. . . . The children are growing up, and only Peter knows the punishment.
Hardcover, 293 pages
Four Stars: A dark and seductive trip to Neverland.
Wendy searches Peter's face desperately looking for that spark of attraction and desire, but just like all the times before, there is nothing but friendly affection. Wendy and the boys are slowly aging, while Peter remains a forever young, immature boy. He still doesn't understand things like romance and real kisses. Wendy has been content all this time mothering the boys, exploring Neverland and spinning her fantastic stories. Yet her heart longs for passion and romance. What Wendy doesn't know is that her stories have a way of coming true, and she might just find her heart's desire in an unexpected place.
What I Liked:
- I enjoyed immersing into this alternate version of the famous Peter Pan tale. All the perennial characters are here from Peter Pan, Wendy, Hook, Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys, but this time around their darker layers are exposed. Peter, in an attempt to remain the boy who never grows up, harbors dark secrets on how he achieves the impossible. Tinker Bell is willing to do about anything to get rid of Wendy, even if that means betrayal. Wendy wants to save the Lost Boys and Pan from the blood feud with the pirates, and if that means throwing herself into the arms of the enemy, so be it. Finally, the menacing Hook is capable of kindness and compassion. If you thought you knew this well loved characters, think again. This book takes the familiar, turns it around and presents a fresh new vision of Neverland.
- I never thought I would say this, but Hook ended up being one of my favorite characters. He is more than a menacing villain. Ms. Jones peels back all of his layers and shows us the man behind the boots and the sharp claw. A famous pirate captain earns the respect of his crew, and Hook does indeed have the loyalty of his shipmates. He is cunning, beguiling and he knows exactly how to win a woman over. He easily manipulates Wendy and Tinker Bell, but he also shows the two women respect, something that Peter fails to do. Even though I resisted wholeheartedly at first, by the end, I changed my heart toward Hook and I understood why Wendy does as well. Hook will capture your imagination, command your respect, and he may even steal your heart.
- Peter Pan is painted in a not so flattering light. Instead we see the immature boy that he really is. Sure, he is still the fun loving rascal we have all grown to love over the years, but remaining a child forever certainly comes at a price. The cost is scary, horrible and something frighteningly unexpected. Peter Pan is self centered and thinks only of himself. He is a bit of a tyrant prone to tantrums if things aren't his way. He is incapable of understanding others needs. He stole Wendy away from her nursery because he wanted someone to care for him and tell him stories, and he refuses to see her in any other capacity. She is expected to be a surrogate mother and story teller. He doesn't even try to fathom her needs and her desires as she looks toward adulthood. His egotistical nature is his downfall. Even though I didn't like seeing the lovable boy's darker nature, I also appreciated that I got a realistic look at him. Everyone has the capacity to be good or evil, and I liked that I was able to see the different sides of Pan and Hook that have long been unchartered.
- The two girls, Wendy and Tinker Bell, are strong and independent. Wendy especially transforms into a formidable and dangerous woman who is capable of protecting herself and the ones she loves. She possesses the gift of story telling, and her stories magically come true. I liked watching her grow into a woman, and I admired her tenacity and courage, especially when it comes to following her heart. Both Tinker Bell and Wendy are caught between the boy, Pan, and the man, Hook. Who will prevail and win their hearts?
- I appreciated that this was an adult version of the classic Peter Pan story. While the charm and original elements are still in place, this takes on a whole new depth. It is a grown up look at the good and evil in all the characters. It also has plenty of danger, adventure and the eruption of a passionate romance that totally caught me off guard. Don't go into this expecting to find a slightly different take on the original, this instead, moves the tale into new and unexpected directions. I liked some of the stunning revelations, especially when it came to Hook's and Pan's heritage.
And The Not So Much:
- The biggest draw back for me with this book was the writing. The actual writing itself is fine. There are plenty of rich descriptions, detailed explanations and lots of imaginative metaphors, and Ms. Jones does an amazing job of bringing Neverland to life. What I struggled with was the way the author told the tale. Her writing isn't always straight forward, and in fact, she has a round about way of relating her ideas. Often times, things weren't exactly clear and I was confused as to what had happened. This isn't a quick and easy, breeze through read, and sometimes it feels like the author is trying too hard to present metaphorical ideas. You need to focus and clear your mind to totally understand what is transpiring. It was slow going at times, but thankfully toward the end, everything began to snap into place and I finally had a clear idea as to what was going and by then I was hooked!
- I wished that the relationship between Wendy and Peter was explored more. I guess Ms. Jones didn't go down that well worn path because we are all familiar with how Peter whisks Wendy away to Neverland. There is really no discussion or refashioning of this aspect of the story, instead the reader is planted in the story after a great deal of time has passed in Neverland. Wendy is secure in her mothering role, but also dissatisfied that Peter hasn't panned out to be the dashing, romantic hero she expected. I would liked to have seen a bit more of Peter through Wendy's eyes when she was still completely enamored.
- I didn't exactly understand the role of the Native Americans. I was expecting more from Lily and her son Rowan. I am guessing Lily is Tiger Lily, but I wasn't sure. I was hoping to see the Indian Princess in a whole new light as well, but that doesn't happen.
- I was curious as to what happened to Michael and John. There story cuts off and I wanted to know how things fared for them down the road.
Hook & Jill is an exciting, adult look at what happens in Neverland when people start to grow up. This book explodes with danger, passion, betrayals and a romance that will catch you off guard and sweep you away. If you are a fan of the original book, be warned this is a completely different take on the classic. Set sail to Neverland and see Hook, Pan, Wendy and Tink like never before.
"Only children who are getting old like romance, and nothing is worse than growing up."
"And when she grew up, she became a complete and beautiful woman, having partaken in full along the way of both joy and pain." HIs eyes held her own, restraining them from the hook. "She was marked by her experience, of course, but those markings gave the woman her strength. They blended with her beauty to form her soul, a work of art that lives on forever."
"Each must follow his own path to happiness. As you see, even brothers may choose different ways. Yet you remain brothers."
"But I will tell you that a woman's regard cannot be purchased or plundered. That precious treasure is earned."
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Be sure to visit Andrea's website to see all the praise and awards for this book!