by Holly Webb
"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!"
This is a little gem of a book. It is a short, quick read that is delightfully creative. I have read other reviews that said it is Downton Abbey meets Harry Potter , which is a total win-win for me. I was immediately drawn to pragmatic Rose, the main character. Surrounded in the orphanage by dreamers who are waiting for unknown parents to show up and claim them, Rose just wants to leave the orphanage and make her own way in the world. She is spunky but knows her place and doesn't bemoan her circumstances. She is hard-working, loyal, and just wants to do her job well. She didn't ask for her magic, and doesn't want her magic. It sets her apart from the other servants and makes her feel strange. In this book, magic is just for the rich, and the servants distrust it. Because of her magic, she is drawn into some very scary situations and realizes that she had better learn how to control it.
The secondary characters in the book are also very well drawn. I love how the author portrays Isabella as such a spoiled brat, but then lets us see who she could really be. Interaction with different characters are woven seamlessly into the story. This book draws you into it's magical world and holds you spellbound.
Areas of concern:
There is a very evil villain who does very evil things to little children.
There are a couple of mild cuss words.
Kirkus Reviews - Ages 9-12
School Library Journal - Grades 4-7