Audience: middle grades
Genre: mystery, magic, historical fiction
Publisher: September 3rd 2013 by Sourcebooks
Source: eARC from Netgalley via publisher
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!
First let me start by saying how glad I am they changed the cover. The original (pictured here) was an eye sore. I would have never picked it up with that cover. But the new cover has a delightful, whimsical font that just called to me. I did not realize that this book is not brand new. In fact, it was originally published in 2009. Given that dreadful cover that looked like a bottle of Pepto Bismol exploded on it, it's easy for me to see why I never knew this existed.
Unfortunately, I read this book months ago and never got around to writing the review. By now, most of the finer details have escaped me. I can, however, summarize what has stuck with me.
First, I really liked Rose. She was plucky. Her sass was endearing. She wasn't over the top or annoying. She stood up for herself but still knew her place. I also felt like her character was really well written. Even though the setting is not present day, the author did a fine job of making it easy to relate to Rose. The supporting characters were also enjoyable. My favorite was the sarcastic talking cat.
I also enjoyed the setting itself. A magical house that sparkles with magic and responds to Rose's emotions. Pretty awesome! Add that to an old-timey location with just a dash of mystery and you have a very remarkable setting.
The other thing I remember most about Rose was how quickly the plot moved. I flew threw this book because it was packed full of action. For younger readers, this is so important because we know how short their attention spans are. I also thought the conflict was well placed and unexpected (to a degree). It was pretty easy to determine who the "bad guy" would be, but how the villain was vanquished was a surprise.
I can't wait to see what else happens in this series. I did not anticipate Rose's decision in the end, which makes the set up for the continuation to be very interesting.