10 June, 2012

The Truth About Verity Sparks

Title: The Truth About Verity Sparks
Author: Susan Green
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Children
Format: Book - library

From Goodreads: Verity Sparks is a thirteen-year-old orphan working as a milliner in Victorian London. But Verity is no ordinary girl – she has an almost perfect memory and possesses the talent of Teleagtivism. She can easily find things that are lost! When Verity is wrongly accused of theft and dismissed from her job, she goes to live with the Plushes – a slightly Bohemian family who run a Confidential Inquiry Agency. Verity helps them solve cases and slowly becomes one of the family. But patches of the truth about her past begin to surface, along with the special talent that Professor Plush is helping her explore. Who were her real parents? Is she the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter? Who is sending poison pen letters about Verity to the Plushes? Who doesn’t want them to learn the truth about Verity Sparks? An adventure/mystery with a dash of the supernatural thrown in; The Truth About Verity Sparks is packed with chases through the dark alleys of London, séances in high-class dining rooms, pet pythons named Anthony and Cleopatra, murdered opera singers and much, much more.

What I thought: This is the second book from the The Children's Book Council of Australia Younger Reader's Short list.
I seem to have this ting at the moment where children's/ young adult books I read are reflected or have something in common. It happened with When We Were Two and Cloudstreet and now with The Truth About Verity Sparks and The Potato Factory.
Verity Sparks is set in England at a time when transportation to Australia is not common any more, but the class system is alive and thriving. Verity herself is incredibly lucky to have found herself apprenticed to a hat maker. However, a false accusation sees her out on the street where she comes into contact with the wealthy Plush family and embarks on an adventure to discover her past. The thing I really liked about this book was the adult feel to it. Yes, some of the characters were stereotypical - the down on her luck poor girl, the single minded professor, the evil doctor and the friendly benefactor, but it has enough twists and turns to impress Agatha Christie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! It's theme of supernatural and psychic abilities and the inclusion of a séance may concern some people, but most good books are controversial in some way! I personally would love to see some more Verity Sparks books!

Challenges: Library Challenge