ISBN: 9781760651947 Imprint: Walker Books Australia Release Date: September 2, 2020 Australian RRP: $17.99 New Zealand RRP: $19.99
I have many fans of Allison’s books – The Mulberry Tree, The Turnkey and The Seven Keys – who have already been pouncing on this latest of the author’s mysteries. Once again the narrative takes the reader into an almost recognisable parallel world when young Tamsin offers her literary hero Edie St Clair her help in finishing the final of her best-selling series London of the Bells.
Tamsin lives next door to the celebrated author and often watches her comings and goings while drawing, with passion, the colourful characters from the books. In fact, she has drawn them all so many times she feels she knows them intimately and would love to be counted among their number. To her great astonishment she discovers that Edie can literally draw herself into the books and when the author goes missing, Tamsin realises she must be actually caught up in the unfinished final book. Burning to prove herself a worthy friend, Tamsin draws herself into the narrative and finds herself right in the thick of all the dangerous action alongside her beloved character friends. She quickly realises that she is perhaps the only person in London who can help Edie find the perfect ending to the last book – one that will satisfy both readers and more importantly to Tamsin, her fictional friends. Young readers will be turning the pages eagerly to discover all the secrets, twists and turns and surprising developments as the plot unravels.
Many of you will have already added this new title to your collection but in case you haven’t it’s a great addition to your 2021 orders list for readers, both boys and girls, from around ten years upwards. I highly recommend it for your lovers of strange mysteries.
ISBN: 9781760650797 Australian RRP: $16.99 New Zealand RRP: $18.99
I absolutely loved my first introduction to Flossie Birdwhistle in The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery and was so excited to read her next adventure, though I’ve had to wait a while. Let me say right now, it was worth the wait. Allison Rushby has once again transported us not only in time but also dimension as we enter the twilight world where Flossie has such a huge responsibility.
It’s now seven years or so after the war in which Flossie played such an important role. The help she had from her nemesis Hugo Howsham, who was a temporary ally, has almost been forgotten. Indeed, now it seems far away when Hugo manoeuvres himself into a position of power by acquiring three of the cemetery keys, his own and two more. He’s not just after Flossie’s key but is determined to master all seven for the seven cemeteries in the ring around London.
Flossie feels overwhelmed and has little idea how she can possibly outsmart and outplay Hugo particularly when the rest of the turnkeys seem to be feeling very resentful of her ineptitude over the key dilemma and the revelation of her secret association with Hugo in the past.
But this determined guardian of her departed is not alone. Her reunion with her much-loved maid Daisy laid to rest in another graveyard, the support of her older sisters who now rest in her care, her Advisor Hazel and eventually the rallying of the other Turnkeys enable her to thwart the despotic Hugo’s plans, at least for the time being, and further to ensure the safety of her mother, her only living relative.
These are just the most marvellously imaginative narratives filled with historical and geographical information about the London of the past and its society. There has not been one reader in my library to whom I have pressed the first book upon who has not come back thoroughly hooked and wanting more. I am well pleased I will be able to recommend this second as highly.
Certainly we will now be waiting for the further adventures of Flossie who no doubt will need to once again engage all her skills and the combined talents of her twilight friends to block any dangers to her resting charges.
Simply splendid for readers from around ten years upwards.
ISBN: 9781406368864 Imprint: Walker Release Date: November 1, 2018 Australian RRP: $16.99 New Zealand RRP: $18.99
In the first of the trilogy The City of Secret Rivers Hyacinth Hayward managed to thwart the plot to control the magical powers of the underground waters of London and also gain some inkling about her family’s role as protectors of that city’s magic. Now in the second instalment Hyacinth is again joined in another manically paced adventure by familiar characters Little Ben and Oaroboarus, that unflappable mute yet eloquent porcine master of disguise. When ancient stones begin to be stolen from all over London, Hyacinth realises that this is yet another plot. With new characters – some friends, some foes – introduced including Dasra (suspect grandson of Lady Roslyn), Inspector Beale, Hungerford a large and somewhat awkward stone lion, the Precious Man and his daughter Minnie Tickle, Hyacinth embarks on a race-against-time to retrieve the missing magical stones and restore the balance of a structured city.
With the same hysterical humour as the first as well as the thrilling and adventurous, if convoluted, journey across and under the city, Hyacinth begins to not only surmise more about her own family’s role but to make discoveries about herself, hitherto unsuspected. Certainly aspects of her practical ‘instruction’ by female family members over the years become both understandable and frankly, very useful.
Again Weinstein has combined the gangbusters narrative with much hidden and fascinating history about this famous city which will continue to appeal to those interested in history mysteries. Once again the factual notes and photos that conclude the novel provide some intriguing background to the story.
I for one am very much looking forward to the final instalment in this highly entertaining trilogy and again I highly recommend it for able readers from around 8 years upwards.
For children who are keen on fantastical adventures this first volume in a new trilogy will provide a thrilling subterranean ride through the underbelly of London.
Hyacinth Hayward and her mother have just arrived to live in the country of their forebears and Hyacinth hates it already. One of the most annoying and stupid things to her mind is the fact that there is no mixer tap on the bathroom basin so using her practical plumbing skills she fixes that up in a pet of temper. Unwittingly she unleashes a random but significant drop of water, is grabbed by an eccentric neighbour, Lady Roslyn, and whirled down into the sewers of London.
There she encounters the history of the hidden rivers and their magical properties, a vast array of odd, scary, helpful and villainous characters (gotta love a huge pig in a swimsuit who converses via notes!) and a plot to harness the ancient powers that have long been guarded.
At times hilarious and always thrilling this is an adventure for children who not only enjoy the dash of magic but have an interest in history. Certainly I enjoyed finding out more about what exactly lies underneath this sprawling city and the author’s end-notes and photographs are equally fascinating.
Highly recommended for readers from around eight years up.
Ruby Red Shoes is a great favourite with my junior girls so they are all going to mighty impressed when this goes onto our New Books stand.
There is something completely charming about RRS, both the writing and the illustrations. These are just totally endearing books.
Ruby and her Baboushka love travelling and this trip to London is chockfull of everything iconic about that amazing city. Red buses and letterboxes, HM the Queen, toasted crumpets for a cosy tea, squat black taxis and beautiful shops and parks abound.
Little readers will learn much about London as Ruby explores it in the gusty windy weather. Despite the excitement of the visit with its many iconic sights and of course HM and the corgis, Ruby knows that home is always the best place of all.
Where will she and Baboushka adventure next? I know many little girls who will be wild with wondering.
Highly recommended for readers from around 7 years upwards.