This is one of those books that I feel like I want to carry around with me 24/7. You know when every aspect of a book just calls to you and fills you with wonder and happiness? Well, this is that book to me. The weight of it, the size of it, the bevel of the cover and the beauty of the cover!! The smell of it, the font on the cover and for each chapter title... and the STORY.
Everything about this book makes me wish I was a part of it, that I was one with it. I kept shoving the book in my husband's face and petting the cover saying "It's just so beautiful! Look at it! LOOK! Feel the cover! FEEL IT!" I have a wonderful husband because he humoured me every time even though he'd look at me and say "You're so lucky I love you." Heh.
I am an immense fan of Kate Forsyth's, even since I first laid eyes on the first Witches of Eileanan book back in 1998. I devoured that series and even bought the last of it through a friend in Australia rather than have to wait an extra year for it to publish in Canada. (Oh how I love having internet friends!) But this post isn't about her adult fantasy series. Oh, no. This post is about the first ever YA (MG? Could be both!) book I have read from this author. I was hoping that I wasn't going to only be enchanted by the cover and I was happy to quickly figure out that wouldn't happen. The entire story is enchanting from the first pages.
And this isn't quite what I thought it would be either. I didn't realize that the story was set in modern-day, about an almost-thirteen-year-old in Australia who discovers she is the great-grand daughter of a Viscountess in Scotland. (Why doesn't that EVER happen to ME?). Hannah Rose and her mother accept the invitation to move to Scotland and the story evolves from there with a curse and new friends and a black witch, helpful toad and faerie lore. There's even a trip back to the 16th century and a meeting with Mary Queen of Scots as Hannah and her friends try to break the curse on her family.
Palindromes, cryptic crosswords, riddles and rhymes are woven through the story as well and I was as fascinated by those as the history of the Queens in the 16th century (which I never really paid attention to in school =/). But don't think that this is historical fiction in any sense. Forsyth cleverly weaves the history with the fantasy making it a very fun read and you'd think that it was all part of the fantasy.
This is a fantastic novel and I read it all in one night (almost literally as I woke up wide-awake at 2AM and when I finally got out of bed, giving up on sleep I read the rest of the book that I had started at 8PM the night before). I read this book in shots of 2 hours - 7:30-9:30PM , 4:00 - 6:00 AM and then 7:00 - 8:30 AM and then it was over and it is a STAND ALONE novel and you will NOT be disappointed. Though there's an opening if the author ever decides to write a sequel. You do not feel at the end that you need another book however. It all wraps up neatly by the last page, neither rushed nor convoluted. A wonderful ending to a wonderful adventure through time and magic.
**originally posted on my blog beyondbooks.ca**show more