Rose by Holly Webb
Publisher: Orchard Press ( August 2009)
Rose has been selected from all the other girls at the dark, dreary, restrictive orphanage to work as a maid in the house of the famous alchemist, Mr. Fountain. She sees it as her chance to prove herself to be hard-working and practical, and to do well in the world. But Mr. Fountain’s house is positively over-flowing with magic, a quality that Rose has tried to deny in herself… but the house itself recognises Rose’s abilities. When children all around begin to disappear, Rose finds herself pulled into the mystery. She needs to use all her practicality and resourcefulness to save the day!
This book combines a touch of “A Little Princess” with a touch of Harry Potter and combines them with Holly Webb’s own unique style for a truly wonderful read for girls aged 8 to 11 yrs. All the characters are compelling and well developed and the storyline makes for an exciting, adventurous read. Rose herself is very girly, without being silly or flighty, and is also very level-headed. Her reluctance to accept her magical abilities addresses the desire in all of us to fit in, yet Rose has a good sense of herself. It is a pure delight to see a book this well-written for girls of this age group. Absolutely marvelous and I look forward to the next installment, due in February 2010.
Reviewed by Mary Esther Judy