Jaclyn Moriarty returns with her first middle-grade novel, a buoyantly high-spirited fantasy adventure.
Bronte Mettlestone is ten years old when her parents are killed by pirates.
This does not bother her particularly: her parents ran away to have adventures when she was a baby. She has been raised by her Aunt Isabelle, with assistance from the Butler, and has spent a pleasant childhood of afternoon teas and riding lessons. Now, however, her parents have left detailed instructions for Bronte in their will. (Instructions that, annoyingly, have been reinforced with faery cross-stitch, which means that if she doesn't complete them, terrible things could happen!) She travels the kingdoms, perfectly alone, delivering gifts to ten other aunts: a farmer aunt who owns an orange orchard, a veterinarian aunt who specializes in dragon care, a pair of aunts who captain a cruise ship, and a former rock star aunt who is now the reigning monarch of a small kingdom.
But as she travels from aunt to aunt, Bronte suspects there might be more to this journey than the simple delivery of treasure.
Reviews and Awards
⋆ “Highly entertaining and brilliantly plotted…. With its storytelling aplomb, humor, imagination, and many twists and turns, this novel places Moriarty firmly in Diana Wynne Jones territory. Readers will want to begin rereading this spellbinder just as soon as they finish it, to find all the clues and connections and coincidences Moriarty drops and weaves and reconciles throughout.” - The Horn Book Review, starred review
“A strong-minded girl who constantly struggles to do the right thing, Bronte makes a likable heroine and an amusing narrator who offers colorful characters, lively conversations, and insightful reflections. Her eventful story, seemingly as delicate as gossamer, yet strong as silk, is well structured and entertaining. An episodic, high-spirited tale of adventure and magic.” - Booklist
“Bronte’s world and the people inhabiting it sport a charming anachronism and poignant insight that are sure to delight fans of fantasy adventures like Catherynne Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and Trenton Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society, while the story’s clipping pace and well-constructed mysteries, which will leave readers guessing until the very end, make this an excellent recommendation for any fantasy fan. This quirky and endearing adventure set in a captivating, off-beat world is an excellent purchase wherever fantasy circulates well.” - School Library Journal
“The plotting is as self-aware as Bronte’s narration, with clever nods to the traditions and motifs of children’s literature. Readers will find much to love here…. Bronte’s emotional growth keeps pace with her rollicking adventures, and sparse pen-and-ink spot art provides tonally apt detail of characters and settings that showcase Moriarty’s significant talent for imagining and immersing readers in innovative worlds.” - Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Delightful…. The author does a wonderful job crafting this fantasy story to make it believable with word play, figurative language, and imagery. Readers will be drawn in with likeable, unforgettable characters and nonstop action. Simple black and white drawings included in most chapters supplement the text in a fulfilling way…. This title would make a great addition to any school or classroom library and would be a great read aloud.” - School Library Connection
Middle Grade Fiction
Trim Size: 5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Page Count: 384
Foreign Rights: Jill Grinberg Literary Agency
Translation Rights: Jill Grinberg Literary Agency
Rights Available? yes