This is a strikingly original look at magic and the various ways that it is perceived and understood in different cultures. Thank you to Hashtag Press for giving me the opportunity to read this and to be part of the joyous celebration for its publication.
The heroine, Fleur is just a normal year six pupil, who lives with her English Mother and West India Nan. The only unusual thing is that she doesn’t like birds, especially the parrot (called Sir Barclay Wigbert Titus Smythe) who shares Nan’s room in the attic. Apart from that, she is focused on surviving the last term at her school and avoiding the bully Celeste, who seems to have taken a dislike to her. But strange things are happening in the community, with mysterious flying figures, lost slippers in the road and even more strange, Nan seems to be part of this. The final, and really disturbing occurrence is when Fleur discovers she can understand what the animals are saying. It starts off with Sir Barclay, but she soon finds that she can communicate with everything from insects to large animals. After finding the courage to talk to her Nan about all of this, she discovers that she is a Hexter (someone with magic) and her version makes her an Animalator. Nan explains about many of the other versions and says that she is able to fly invisibly, hence the lost slipper. It turns out that the rather nasty Celeste has the ability to recognize magic, but does not have any skills that she can use, hence her dislike of Fleur. But can Fleur deal with this problem, help her Nan and come to terms with her amazing new powers; above all, can they manage to reunite Sir Barclay with his lost love Dame Genevieve?
What a fabulously funny story, with some really feisty and smart characters. You can’t help but love Nan with her wonderful spirit and sense of family; despite being 89 years old, she is the glue that holds everyone together. However, for me, it is Sir Barclay who really steals the show; he is a totally snarky parrot, with a wicked turn of phrase but he also has the determination to help the family in any way he can. I do hope that we will be treated to more stories as Fleur learns to control her powers and perhaps find her father, who had left home when his father died. This is definitely aiming to be a five star story.
About the Author
Sarah lives in Yorkshire and worked as a Criminologist until
she fell in love with writing and quickly swapped a life with
crime for a life with rhyme! She is married with three awesome
kids who keep her on her toes whilst she is plotting and
sharing her latest stories.
Sarah has self-published two picture books. The King and
the Cockerel was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards
in 2018 and Molly’s Magic Brolly picked up a Silver Award
in 2019. She is currently working on a number of middle
grade and children’s picture books and has a couple of book
club novels up her sleeve too. When she is not writing, she
loves nothing more than to run, bike or swim in the hills
of Holmfirth and recently entered her first Triathlon. Next
New Year’s Eve, she will not be making any sports related
Sarah is an active SCBWI Member and a Volunteer
Ambassador for Candlelighters Charity.
Follow Sarah @SMorrellAuthor