Review Blog

May 02 2013

Verity Sparks Lost and found by Susan Green

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Walker Books Australia, 2013. ISBN: 9781921977886.
(RA: 10-14 years) Highly recommended. Themes: Psychic Ability, Girl Detectives, Melbourne - 1870's, Boarding Schools, Mysteries. Susan Green has certainly 'gingered up the action' in her second Verity Sparks novel. Verity's psychic gift of teleagtivism, finding lost things has gone; instead she is troubled by shadowy dreams, portents of dangerous events.
Papa Savinov feels that Verity needs to develop into a proper lady and enrols her at an exclusive boarding school Hilltop House. Verity is a reluctant boarder, making both friends and enemies. She uses her detecting skills to solve mysterious thefts at school and investigates the dishonesty of college proprietors the Colonel and Mrs. Enderby-Smarke. Verity uses her journal to record her observations about school life, the dramas, bullying and home situations of the boarders. Even Lucifer Miss Deane's fifty year old cockatoo adds spice to the story.
There are a rich array of characters who both help and hinder Verity's quest to find missing heiress Lavinia Ecclethorpe. The settings of 1870's Melbourne and Mt. Macedon are realistically brought to life.
Verity and her governess Miss Deane move to Mount Macedon to investigate the murder of Lavinia's fiance Alan Ross. There are even more twists and turns as Verity's dreams start to come true.
This is another exciting novel by Susan Green; Verity Sparks is a dynamic character with a real sense of adventure. I would highly recommend this book for upper primary and lower secondary students.
The accurate historical portrayal of Melbourne, Bourke Street, the Yarra River and Mount Macedon and the modes of transport used in the 1870's, support the Australian History Curriculum.
Susan Green's blog- provides further insight into her creation of the novels. -
Rhyllis Bignell

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