There’s nothing better than a new release by a favourite author, and Karen Foxlee is right up there for me, along with Melina Marchetta, Markus Zusak and Peter Temple, to mention just a few.
Ever since Foxlee’s brilliant debut with The Anatomy Of Wings, I’ve counted myself a fan.
Her mesmerising follow-up, The Midnight Dress, recently made the American Library Associations’s list for 2014′s Best Fiction for Young Adults and is a front-runner for the upcoming award season Down Under.
Now her middle grade novel Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy has hit the bookstores. I was lucky enough to score a signed copy direct from the Gympie-based author of the beautiful American hardcover with its exquisitely illustrated end papers.
This modern-day fairy tale reminded me of all the reasons I fell in love with reading as a child. It has it all. A cold and nasty villainess A plucky imperfect eleven-year-old heroine. Magic. Wizards. A marvellous three-hundred-and-three-year-old boy, locked in the highest room of the museum, needing rescue. Oh, and a ticking clock counting down to the end of the world…
For me, the most wonderful character was Ophelia’s dead mother, horror writer Susan Worthington, teller of terrifying night tales to her asthmatic daughter.
‘Can’t you just tell me a simple fairy tale?’ Ophelia might plead.
”Oh, darling, fairy tales are for beginners,’ her mother would reply.
Like all good mothers, she reaches out from the grave to lend her child courage, urging her to stay loyal to her friends, and follow her heart.
I cried at the end for all the right reasons, but most of all, because I just didn’t want it to end.
Perfect for nine years and up (and yes, I’m definitely in the ‘up’ category).