July 2010, David Fickling Books
320 pages, Hardback
Community spirit, families, magic and mystery, some peril, friendship
Summary from Random House Children's Books
Verity Gallant knows she’ll never be as pretty and popular as Poppy, her perfect little sister – she doesn’t quite fit in. But when a mysterious stranger hands her an ancient red book, everything changes.
Verity becomes embroiled in a tale of dark magic and intrigue; she uncovers old rivalries and discovers new friends. Together, she, Henry and Martha explore the secrets stirring in the ancient harbour town of Wellow.
But what will it take to stop a powerful witch hell-bent on revenge?
Tales involving fishing communities often have a focus on friendships, families and community spirit. To add magic to the mix takes the book to another level. Especially after seeing The Mummy, I know better than to think a book is innocent. Verity's nice, happy life changes because of the book. I promise that everything rights itself in the end. But for a lot of the book, Verity gets pushed away from her family. She manages to push her friends (old and new) away for a tiny part of it too. This was one aspect of the book which I loved - her character is so real. Children (and children at heart) sometimes stuff up and push people away when they shouldn't. It has consequences, but usually they can be resolved later on. I liked how big a part Verity's family play in it. They do care about her, but circumstances make them think differently throughout the book. I loved Verity because she is a bookworm, and spends a lot of her time in the library. The library becomes her retreat. It is also a lot more, but I can't say any more without spoiling the story.
The way the story is written, all the elements of plot and characterisation makes this a treasure of the sea (and land).
You can find out more about the book and M L Welsh on the dedicated website.