Review Blog

Jun 15 2017

Goodly and Grave: in a bad case of kidnap by Justine Windsor

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HarperCollins, 2017. ISBN 9780008183530
(Ages: 10+) Highly recommended. Magicians. Kidnapping. London. Nineteenth century. The Penny Dreadful is full of the stories of missing children in London, with dire predictions of what has happened to them. Lucy Goodly meets her match at the card table at one of London's seamier gambling establishments, when she is beaten by someone with better skills at cheating. So convinced that she would win, she set herself against the dastardly Lord Grave, and in losing must return with him to Grave Hall and be his boot boy. Here she finds strange things happening, the cook is a bearded man dressed in women's clothing, she overhears people speaking of the missing children, she goes into a room where she meets a talking raven. Lucy must use her wits if she is to help solve the puzzle of Grave Hall, rescue the children, release those entrapped by magic, and get back to her own family.
Her suspicions of Lord Grave and all the others in his employ cause Lucy to take the magic route offered by the raven and she lands in the castle of Amethyst, Grave's enemy. But here too, she comes to disbelieve what she is being told, and seeing the woman collect the tears of the children, realises that something is very wrong.
A heart thumping thriller of a story, Lucy lurches from one grave situation to another, often accompanied by other children, all trying to deflect the lies they are being told. But who can be trusted? Twists occur on every page, but Lucy's tenacity shines through. Readers will love the humour as well as the plethora of strange beings, working with Lucy to try and find out what is really happening to the children kidnapped from the streets of London. And for those completely enraptured with the situation Windsor presents, the second in the series will follow soon.
Fran Knight

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