The hero of Herm's Secret is called Caspian and he's a prince among heroes: young, strong, good-looking, an amazing swimmer, empathetic, sensitive and kind. To say more would give too much away. Enough to confess that I soon fell in love with him, and remain so.
Herm's Secret is a thrilling tale that's well and truly different from anything I've read before. It begins with the cruel, tragic death of members of a family of whales. We then meet Lori, a thirteen-year-old Canadian girl about to discover a terrifying secret of her own. She is summoned by a mysterious inner voice, calling her to the tiny island of Herm, neighbour to Guernsey in the English Channel. Together with her father, aunt and brothers, Lori sets out on the adventure of her life.
Herm's Secret has, I believe, a number of intermingling themes. It's the story of a girl reaching puberty, about to undergo the frightening `change' that will open up a new world to her, if she can find the courage to face it. It's about family love and loyalty and what happens when these things go wrong. And it's about whales - those intelligent, beautiful mammals with whom we have so much in common. It confronts us with deep questions of how to live alongside our fellow creatures on earth (and at sea). It shows the possibility of understanding and cooperation between species in a way that will bring joy to your heart as well as reminding you of our responsibilities.
And finally - the illustrations by Joy Chan are breathtaking. Generous in detail, they are a perfect complement to the text. I would have loved them as a child and I love them now.
The pace of Herm's Secret never lets up. You will ride the wave from Lori's initial summons until it crashes to a satisfying conclusion on a distant shore.
I now have a better idea of what I'm hearing when the sea calls me from far away, to stand on its edge, cavort in its shallows and listen to its songs.
Great read, original story great for both young and old. Loved the adventure about this mermaid which is so rich that draws you into the myth and carries you along by its original characters. The author has created a stunning piece I would recommend to any female or any coastal loving reader. Couldn't put it down. Would make a great movie.
13-year-old Lori is about to embark on a change that will alter the course of her life completely. I am sure I'm not giving too much away if I point you in the direction of the gorgeous cover of this captivating book to see exactly what that change is.
"Herm's Secret" is the story of Lori, her family and her special bond with a young humpback whale called Caspian as they unravel the secret of Lori's missing mother and set out to find her. With its twists, turns and drama, the story is as thrilling as the best adventures in places, as moving as the finest romances in others and overall beautifully evocative of the sights and sounds of the sea. The characters are compelling from Lori herself, to her clever and compassionate aunt, her resourceful giant of an uncle, the disturbingly obsessed villain and his good guy teenage son to the wonderful almost-human Caspian.
What I enjoyed in particular is the depth of this book. Although a rattling good read in its own right, it also covers important universal themes for young readers - about family love and loyalty and about man's relationship with nature. This gives it an enduring quality which I am sure will stand the test of time.