by Holly Webb
Publication date: September 3rd 2013
Category: Middle Grade
Source: eARC for tour
Rose isn’t like the other orphans at St Bridget’s Home for Abandoned Girls. Instead of dreaming of getting adopted by loving, wealthy parents, Rose wants to get a job and be independent. She doesn’t need anyone but herself. She finds her escape working as a maid for Mr. Fountain, an alchemist. Unable to ignore the magic that flows throughout the grand residence, Rose realizes that just maybe; she might have a little bit of magic in her too. This new series featuring magicians, witches, talking cats, mist-monsters, and friendships will have young readers in a trance!
Rose has spent the last nine years at St Bridget’s Home for Abandoned Girls. She knows nothing about her family, only that she was dropped off at around age one. While the other orphan girls at St. Bridget’s daydream about being adopted by the greatest parents in the world, Rose just wants to get out and start making her own living. Rose has a penchant for making up stories which the other girls love hearing. One day when she is telling her friend Maise a story about what her life might have been like before she was left at the orphanage, she notices that pictures of her story appear on the reflective surface of a metal tub for bathing. While she thinks it must be strange and not at all acceptable, her friend Maise thinks it’s the coolest thing ever. The following day Rose is chosen to be taken by Miss Bridges to work at Mr. Fountain’s home. He is an alchemist, otherwise considered a magician of sorts. Once there, strange and magical things begin happening to Rose, not to mention the mysterious disappearances happening all over London.
How AWESOME is that cover? Once I saw it I knew I had to get my hands on this book! The colors are so soft and inviting, which I find amusing since it is quite the contrast to the eerie content inside. But I suppose I also got a feel for that from the cover, too, which is why I was so attracted to it.
Rose is a mysterious and enchanted tale that reminded me very much of Harry Potter meets Lemony Snicket meets Nancy Drew. Rose is timid, yet strong-willed; a curious combination of characteristics that captivated me immediately. The setting is dark and strange, yet still youthful just like in A Series of Unfortunate Events. At times I thought my little girls would enjoy this story if read over time because of extraordinary characters like Gus, the talking cat, witches and mist-monsters, but after careful consideration I realized that they are still too young for a book like this. Because it’s London based and a wee bit gothic, some of the dialogue would probably get lost on them. I think this is the perfect book for kids 10 and up! This book is full of mystery and magic that keeps the reader enthralled from the very beginning. Several times I thought to myself, “Wow, this book is really odd,” but I could not stop reading it!
by Holly Webb
Rose – Chloe Moretz
This is so difficult! Rose needs to be brave, determined, but quite matter-of-fact. She’s horrified by her magic at first, as she wants to be a maid – she’s amazed that she’s been lucky enough to get a job, and she thinks the magic will spoil everything. So whoever played her would need to be able to get that determination across, but be overtaken by the excitement of the magic growing inside her.
At first I thought of Kirsten Dunst, as she was amazing as a child vampire in Interview With the Vampire, but of course that was years and years ago. Actually, if I could have any child actress from whenever, I think I would go for Mara Wilson, who played Matilda in the film. She seemed quite as I imagine Rose – pretty, but not beautiful, very sensible, but with a sly sense of humour lurking underneath. I wonder if Chloe Moretz (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Hugo) would be able to look young enough to play Rose? In the book Rose thinks she’s ten, but she’s not quite sure, and the hard life at the orphanage, and having to be grown-up very quickly, would make her look older.
Mr Fountain – Colin Firth
But only if he could grow a large, curly moustache.
Miss Sparrow – Emma Watson
Miss Sparrow needs to be very beautiful, possibly too beautiful – not to spoil the plot, but her looks are magically enhanced. I’d love to see Emma Watson play another magical character, but this time, an evil one. (Thinking about it, Emma Watson would also have been wonderful as Rose!)
Bill (Or Freddie!)– Asa Butterfield
Bill is another of the servants at Mr Fountain’s house. He’s an orphan too, and he loves being a little bit older and more used to working than Rose. But he’s actually very kind, although he does his best to hide it. He needs to sound like a Londoner, which I think is probably easier for a British actor. But then I can see Asa Butterfield as Freddie, the snotty, conceited magician’s apprentice, too! He has a magical look to him. Can I have him twice with different-coloured hair, please?!
Gus (voice) – Alan Rickman
Because he has a lovely voice!
Gus is Mr Fountain’s spoilt white cat, and one of the first magical things to happen to Rose is that she realises she can hear him talking. He’s proud, lazy and obsessed with fishpaste sandwiches.
I first saw Alan Rickman in Truly, Madly, Deeply a long time ago but he can also be fabulously nasty (as the sheriff of Nottingham and of course as Snape in the Harry Potter films). He’s great at sounding grumpy, which is very important for Gus!
~About the Author~
Holly Webb is the author of Dog Magic, Cat Magic, and Lost in the Snow. She has always loved animals and owns two very spoiled cats. They haven’t said a word to her yet, but she’s always listening, just in case! She lives in England.
Holly’s Website | Goodreads
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