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The Fairy Wren

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  98 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
From the moment a fairy wren drops his lost wedding ring at his feet, Paul realises there's more magic to the world than he thought...

When Paul Fischer receives a strange phone call asking for help, from a woman who might be his estranged wife Rachel, he's drawn into a mysterious search that threatens not only his struggling bookstore, but long-buried dreams too.

Paperback, 1st, 238 pages
Published October 31st 2014 by Close-Up Books (first published October 29th 2014)
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Community Reviews

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Rating details
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Veronica ⭐️
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ashley Capes has written a story as beautiful as the cover.

Have you ever had a time in your life when everything just seems to be going wrong and you can barely keep your head above water? That is exactly how Paul’s life is going. His wife has left him and his bookshop is going under. On top of that his rent is about to be increased. Where can he possibly go from here? A friend offers him a financial proposition. But Paul isn’t that low that he will do something illegal – or is he?

Capes has draw
Paul Fischer and his bookshop had been partners for a long while – but the introduction of e-readers had seen a downturn in sales. And with the rents of their street in Stony Bay due to rise, Paul knew he had no choice but to sell. He wasn’t sure what he would do – he was preparing for a divorce from his wife Rachel – soon to be ex – his business was worthless, and his rent was becoming a struggle.

But with the appearance of a little blue fairy wren, and a young Italian girl into his life, Paul f
Capes handles his words well, and I enjoy his writing style. I also enjoy fantasy where we are asked to suspend disbelief in order to accept some extraordinary connections between events or characters—in this case between Paul, the protagonist and the fairy wren of the title (and subject of the most beautiful book cover I’ve seen in a long time).

I’m happy to overlook conventional rules and accept that something unpredictable might happen, but it doesn’t mean I accept that real-life consequence
 Li'l Owl
A wonderful hodge podge of mystery, drama, family, danger, a search for answers, undying love, and a touch of magic!

Paul's store, Stony Bay Books, is in trouble.
The new releases looked to be hibernating and the second-hand section up back, it's shelves lined with creased spines, should have had at least one lovable nerd foraging for an obscure title. Instead it was home only to pleasant sunlight streaming in from the skylight — which despite it's pleasantness, didn't look like it was going to b
Apr 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

The Fairy Wren is a book unlike any that I've read before. This was a book that I tried to take my time reading so that I could savor it, but found myself at the end all too quickly. I certainly had NO idea where this book was going, but I was definitely not disappointed. This book is really well written, and I don't understand why it hasn't gotten more attention. It's unlike everything else, and that is probably why. Does origi
N.N. Light
May 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There’s a book I come across once in a blue moon that stirs my soul. This is such a book. I was intrigued by the blurb and the cover is beautiful. I kept asking myself while reading it, why have I never heard of this author before? Why hasn’t the Big 5 picked him up?

Paul Fischer owns a small bookstore in Australia. He’s struggling to make ends meet while trying very hard not to think about his ex-wife Rachel. A strange phone call by a woman piques Paul’s curiosity. Could it be Rachel? Is she in
3.5 Stars, Completed October 17, 2015

Not only have I been in an awful reading slump for the past few weeks but also a reviewing/blogging slump as well. This was the last book I was able to read before I fell into that strange non-reading period, and I'm so glad that during my time away I finally found the words to describe how I felt about The Fairy Wren.

This book begins with the readers meeting Paul Fischer, a guy who just can't seem to catch a break. His bookshop is doing poorly, his wife has
Debbie Gascoyne
Mar 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, netgalley
I really wanted to like this, but for some reason it just didn't work for me. When I see other reviews, it seems like people are reading a different book. I didn't think it was all that well written (the dialogue, in particular, was quite stilted), I didn't have much sympathy for the protagonist, and I didn't feel the magical elements were well integrated or believable (although the pay-off in the end does make things have some kind of sense to them). Three stars only because the ultimate pay-of ...more
Ben Mariner
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books where the main character makes a seemingly never-ending string of bad choices that snowball into worse situation and leave you wondering how he could possibly be so stupid, but has you completely wrapped up anyway. Every time Paul made yet another poor life choice I though, "what are you doing!? wel, let's see how this plays out." This is set in Australia and written by an Australian author, so the slang and terminology is a bit different and the weather doesn't match ...more
I'm Booked
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I confess. I love a well written book. I'm always searching for books that were beautifully crafted, books that make me think and books that inspire me to dream about the possibilities that each turn of the page will bring. The Fairy Wren by Ashley Capes accomplished all of this and more!

The Fairy Wren can best be described as literature infused with fantasy. The story itself is touching and what I enjoyed the most about it is that it is completely original; at no time did I find myself comparin
Everything in Paul Fischer's life seems to be going down the drain. His wife has left him and put a restraining order on him. His book store is going broke which means he might lose the house plus it is a link to his dead parents as they left the lease to him. And his best friend, Jon, wants him to get involved in some shonky behaviour. And a teenage girl runaway seems to be running to him, making him look even more suspicious to the police. Unfortunately, at every turn Paul seems to be making t ...more
Kate M. Colby
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller-crime
Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

The Fairy Wren by Ashley Capes is a fantasy novel. It follows Paul Fischer during one of the worst times of his life. Paul is separated from his wife, about to lose his bookstore, nagged by a shady friend, and dealing with an Italian runaway. On top of all of that, he receives a mysterious phone call that makes him concerned for his ex-wife and seems to be stalked by a fairy wren, who appears to be more
Jaime Leigh
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: put-back, arc
I received this ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I had very high hopes for this book. A slightly cynical Librarian that had everything working against him. A tale of magical realism with a beautiful cover. I honestly thought that this was going to be a book that I was going to love. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me. This quote from Lloyd Dahl sums up my first problem with the novel,
"Well, it is hard to believe how much trouble you've got yourself into-how much business
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful book. From the cover of the book I was instantly captivated. To me, it has to be one of the most beautiful book covers of all time. Then from page one I continued to stay immersed in the story all the way through. What a gem this book is. It takes place in Australia, as that is where the actual author currently resides. The author is very sweet and I am privileged to have spoken to him here on Goodreads, as I won the book and the copy that I have is signed.

In brief the stor
Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review.

When Ashley Capes contacted me concerning this book I was eager to accept the task, since I greatly enjoyed his City of Masks. I was warned beforehand that The Fairy Wren belonged to a different genre, so I was eager to see how a change of style and background would come across in his writing: it was different, indeed, to the point that I'm quite puzzled about how to classify this story (mainstream with a dash of fantasy is t
Jan 30, 2015 rated it liked it
I love Goodreads' giveaway idea. As a reader and part-taker you get the chance to read something completely new and possibly something you would never have picked otherwise, just because you never knew it even existed. The benefits for authors are obviously a bit different, but equally beneficial.

My copy of The Fairy Wren was a giveaway win and I'm very grateful for it. I doubt I'd ever had found the book on my own, just because there are millions of books out there and not nearly enough time fo
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a delightful tale of a bookstore owner and a magical little fairy wren that comes into his life. While I cringed at times at some of the idiotic decisions this young man makes almost on a daily basis, I had to like the guy and want everything to turn out for the best. He keeps getting into deeper and deeper hot water at every turn. The pages just flew along and I couldn't stop reading.

The story is imaginative and original. There's a scene in the book that I can't say too much about witho
Emily Crow
So how many bad decisions can one person possibly make? The protagonist of The Fairy Wren seems to be trying to top the list, but he remains likable throughout. I admit that I read this one just because of the title and the beautiful cover, but it turned out to be an interesting story, and very well-written. The ending, and the meaning of the magical little wren, didn't quite work for me, but overall, I liked the story. I would definitely pick up another book by this author.
Kim Chesson
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully crafted, with an eye for the magical and the absurd in every day life. The author's poetic gifts give ordinary things (and people) special meaning, without descending into flowery treacle. The characters, central and supporting, are all vital and 3 dimensional. The fantasy elements weave into the story, enhancing rather than intruding, and are never explained away in order to kill the magic. An exceptional work that held me entranced to the end.
David Schembri
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful and emotional journey. I couldn't put this book down. Relationships were convincing and complications were gripping, leaving the reader intrigued to discover the outcome. A lovely read and one can admire the confidence and flow of the storyteller.
Jun 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
I received this book for review from the author. I don’t accept many direct review requests, but I was intrigued by this blend of magical realism with contemporary drama romance.

The book’s protagonist is Paul Fischer, a struggling book shop owner, recently separated from his wife. When we meet Paul, nothing in his life is going right; he’s bitter, lonely and his short fuse keeps getting him into even more trouble.

Paul is on the brink of losing his business and facing a pending assault charge whe
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Regular ole Paul Fischer is about to have a very difficult time of things. His life had went from optimistic to severely pessimistic in a very quick downward spiral. His bookstore, Stony Bay Books, is not doing well and he is getting a divorce on top of that. To make matters worse, he finds out his ex, Rachel, is going to be trying to get the house and half of the book store. Not that there was much to have if she got either. Paul doesn't really fight things and it just seems to get worse and w ...more
Gem BookEater
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Paul Fisher is having a bit of a pants time, his wife left him and has just taken an injunction out to stop him contacting her, his bookshop is struggling to stay afloat and now greedy developers are threatening to put him completely out of business by raising the rents.

Then a fairy wren drops his lost wedding ring at his feet, and Paul discovers that there’s more magic in the world than he thought or he’s going completley mad.

Things don’t seem to improve for him though, punching the mayor seals
Feb 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Find full review here: https://caffeineandbooks42.wordpress....

Don’t be led on by the synopsis of this book. You may think it is a true urban fantasy, filled with strange beings and lots of magic, but that really isn’t the case with this book. It’s more like a drama, as there is lost love, financial struggles, affairs, murders, kidnapping, and so many other things. The only magical aspects of the books are the bird that keeps leading Paul to strange places, a runaway girl who keeps turning up in
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, fantasy

Paul Fischer is an emotionally distant bookseller who finds himself beaten down by his failing business, which transforms life in the Australian coastal town of Stony Bay into a daily struggle. When he receives a strange phone call asking for help, from a woman who may or may not be his estranged wife Rachel, he is drawn into a mysterious search that threatens not only his livelihood, but long-buried dreams too.

This is a well written book with some suspense, mystery and some fantasy. The novel
Rachel Teferet
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read Fairy Wren during the course of an extremely long plane ride — and I literally had to force myself to put it down to take bathroom breaks, because I didn't want to stop reading! Ashley seamlessly weaves together the magical and the mundane, creating a rich world where miracles are possible.

I do think that my seatmate thought I was half-insane when I laughed out loud at particularly hilarious parts, or when I gasped and cried, “NO WAY!” when unimaginable plot twists occurred. Thank you, As
Belinda Mellor
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A lovely book. One I became fully immersed in. A story touched by gentle, lyrical magic-realism (I think is the term). Set in a coastal Australian town, the author captures the small-town feeling whist exploring universal themes. One particularly nice touch is how the story is filed with the love of books – the main character being a bookseller. But, mainly, it is a story about relationships – family, friends, strangers, old family friends, parents and children, lovers, people who care for other ...more
Apr 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
*I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads.* The "Fairy Wren" by Ashley Capes was a quick read and although I enjoyed it, I did get a little confused at times about the direction the book was supposed to be going. It did end happily for the main character, Paul.

I thought the cover artwork was the most beautiful I have ever seen on a book. It is truly mesmerizing. Thank you for this delight!
Polly Krize
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Paul Fischer's world is turning out badly very quickly. Losing his bookstore, signing divorce papers, helping a friend pull an insurance scam, a runaway Italian is all going downhill. The appearance of a fairy wren in his life seems to point to wrongdoing towards his ex-wife too. Fantasy combined with reality makes this an eminently readable book. Recommended.
Mar 28, 2016 added it
Shelves: 2016, netgalley
Thanks to netgalley for letting me review this book. Let me start with that the ending was not what I expected. Wasn't quite sure were it was going but feel that it tied together very nicely. The bird man was odd though. I loved the imagery, and symbolism of the wren. Looking forward to seeing what else he has out in the future!
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Ashley is a poet, novelist and teacher living in Australia.

He teaches English, Media and Music Production, has played in a metal band, worked in an art gallery and slaved away at music retail. Aside from reading and writing, Ashley loves volleyball and Studio Ghibli – and Magnum PI, easily one of the greatest television shows ever made.

See poetry and fiction at

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