Dear Ms. Ibbotson,
I’ve long been a fan of your adult novels. They have a way of showing even the most mundane things in a magical light, and that always makes me realize there’s a bit of fairy tale in everyone’s life. Your books set in
This was, of course, not quite like your adult novels. This was written for children, and clearly from the point of view of a young girl. And to a young innocent living in
I felt like you were writing a modern fairy tale. A baby girl abandoned in a mountainside church, taken by two maiden housekeepers to live with them and three eccentric professors, raised to work hard but always with joy and pride. Still as an orphan she had some secret dreams. These were fueled by her fairy godmother of sorts, an old sick woman she is paid to tell stories to, but who becomes a friend who tells stories of her own of a young actress’s magical days in
Of course, in this fairy tale not all is what it seems, but she finds out that even when old dreams fade new ones come to take their place.
There were some parts to the story that kept it from being a perfect read for me. The horrid girls’ school section, while commonplace ever since stories like Jane Eyre, was a little over the top. But I did love how her family pulled together to get her out of there. And some people might not love how everything is neatly wrapped up at the end, but this is a children’s book, and a fairy tale, and in that time, in that
This is a story I would have treasured as a little girl and would have come back to time and again. While I’m no longer a child on the outside, this book reminds me of what it is to be one on the inside, and I recommend it for all children at heart.
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