10 June, 2015

Book Review: Withering-By-Sea

From GoodreadsHigh on a cliff above the gloomy coastal town of Withering-by-Sea stands the Hotel Majestic. Inside the walls of the damp, dull hotel, eleven-year-old orphan Stella Montgomery leads a miserable life with her three dreadful Aunts. But one night, Stella sees something she shouldn't have... Something that will set in motion and adventure more terrifying and more wonderful than she could ever have hoped for...

Thoughts:  This is the fourth of the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) shortlisted Younger Readers books. Withering-By-Sea is the first in a series of mystery books set in Victorian England. Stella is a lively, intelligent, curious girl, stuck in the custody of three terribly boring and proper aunts. When she witnesses a murder one night, her life is suddenly in danger as she tries to fulfil a promise to the dead man.
There are a couple of very appealing things about this series. The first is the main character Stella. Intelligent, quick witted and resourceful, Stella is a fantastic strong female character that will appeal to girls and boys alike. The action is thick and fast, leading the reader through various aspects of Victorian England that many of today's children would find fascinating. Finally the presentation of the book is perfect. Most children I know like anything that makes something a little bit different, a bit special.  Withering-by-Sea is printed not in traditional black, but blue. The illustrations are also done in blue tones (like a blue sepia), adding to the feel of it being just that little bit different. Rossell builds the suspense in the novel to breaking point and then pushes the action forward at a rush that has the reader desperate to find out what will happen. I believe this series will go from strength to strength.

 Withering-by-Sea gets 4 stars!

 *        Did not like it
**       It was OK
***      Liked it
****    Really liked it

*****   It was amazing