In style, substance, plot and mood the two books in this series are echoes of stories written in the manner of Enid Blyton's Famous Five. If anything they are bit more attractive to modern readers, and I mean all of that in a good way.
Our heroines are sisters Lily and Poppy and their friends, the siblings Toby, Melanie and Sarah. As in all such works there is minimal parental involvement, but there is an adult, their teacher, who keeps an eye on the proceedings. There is no quirky pet companion, but that's O.K. with me. The books are described as "for girls", but since the brother Toby is a strong character, as is their friend Ollie, and as there is nothing particularly "girlie" about the plot, action or dialogue, this seems like it could appeal to readers of any gender.
The settings, (a caravan park, a seaside resort, a fairground), are intentionally old-fashioned. The action, (riding bikes about, walking along the shore), is also old style. The children's adventure, (they have bit parts in a movie being filmed at the fairground), is mild and unwinds at a measured but efficient pace. There is mystery surrounding the theft of an item of jewelry, suspicious looking brigands, a red herring or two, grumpy guys who may be good-guys or bad-guys, charming adults who may be good-guys or bad-guys, and a bit of derring do.
I love this stuff. The heroes can sit around discussing clues over tea or narrowing down suspects over fish and chips as long as they care to. It is immersive for a young reader, comforting for a slightly older reader, calming for an adult who is reading it to a youngster. The writing is a bit crisper and the dialogue a bit less flabby than in actual older books, and that's fine by me. I sometimes marvel at how well modern authors can update but still capture the basic feel of these gang-of-kids adventure/mysteries.
So, for a bit of a change of pace, and for an adventure that does award the heroines equal roles in the story, and for mild thrills for a younger reader - this is certainly a nice choice.
Please note that I found this book while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
on 14 February 2013
I have just finished reading this cracking adventure story and although it is aimed at a much younger audience than myself - I really got into it and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you enjoyed reading the Famous Five, Secret Seven etc by Enid Blyton you will most definitely enjoy this book. You can tell the author knows her way around the area and brings it to life superbly.
The book goes at a steady pace and the dialogue (as it is spoken by children) is spot on without being pretensious (excuse my spelling of that word)and believable - and no they don't drink lashings of ginger beer!
Well worth a read as well is Guardian of the Key by the same author. I would like to read another one in this series please.