{Review/Giveaway} ROSE by Holly Webb

Check back later this week for my review of

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

ROSE PEERED OUT THE CORNER OF THE window at the street below, watching interestedly as two little girls walked past with their nursemaid. They were beautifully dressed in matching pale pink coats, and she found them fascinating. How could anyone keep a pink coat clean? She supposed they just weren't allowed to see dirt, ever. The little girls strolled sedately down the street, and Rose stretched up on tiptoe to get one last look as they turned the corner. The bucket she was standing on rocked and clattered alarmingly, and she jumped down in a hurry, hoping no one had heard. The tiny, leaded windows at St. Bridget's Home for Abandoned Girls were all very high up, so that the girls were not tempted to look out of them. If any of the matrons realized that Rose had discovered a way to see out, they would do their utmost to stop her--in case her virtue was put at risk by the view of the street. Perhaps they would even outlaw buckets, just in case.

(Page 1, US paperback edition)

ROSE by Holly Webb is sweet and unassuming. It has the feel of a childhood classic, and reminds me in some ways of my childhood favorite A LITTLE PRINCESS by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It's both historical and magical, mixing together orphans, magical houses, talking cats, dangerous villains, and more. It's a very fast read that's perfect for kids looking for a story with a little oomph that also feels like something they've grown up with.

Abandoned in a fish basket as a baby, Rose has never known life outside the orphanage. When a woman looking for a new housemaid for Mr. Fountain's household stops by, she takes Rose away to a new life. Rose discovers that her new employer is a famous alchemist, a man able to do fancy magic for the very rich. She also discovers that she can sense magic when others cannot. The steps shift when she tries to use them, she can make moving images appear on shiny objects, she can hear the household cat talking when everyone else hears him meowing. Could she have magical abilities herself? Rose wants nothing more than to rid herself of any magic hiding within her. She's content to be a housemaid and earn her own living; she doesn't want to be cast out. But can she hide the magic within her? And does she even want to after discovering that someone is stealing children, and she may be the only one capable of solving the mystery?

There's a very old-fashioned feel to ROSE, taking readers back to a time long past, and bringing it visually to life. Rose knows her place in life and doesn't try to change that, even when she can. She knows who she is and what she wants, and the problems that may come from acting hoity-toity and above herself. It's an interesting change from all the characters in fiction more than happy to do just that! Rose is very sweet, and doesn't want the life that she's about to be given. In that way, she reminds me of characters from the classics, who want the simple things in life. Magic is very expensive in Rose's world, and reserved for the upperclass. I loved seeing magic make its way into the every day, especially the scene where the steps come alive and shift and take on their own personality. In that way, it reminded me nostalgically of HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones.

I will say that ROSE is not for the youngest readers. It gets very dark and grim at the end. Throughout the book, we hear about children that have run away or been stolen. When Rose returns to visit the orphanage and discovers that a few of the other orphans have gone missing in an unexpected way, she decides to solve the mystery. The climax of the dark is more violent than I'd been expecting, and gives the novel a twisty edge that will appeal to older kids. It still has a quaint charm that's very endearing, and Rose makes unexpected choices at the novel's conclusion that have me interested in seeing what adventures she embarks on next!
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I love the curly, girly font that makes the series so easy to distinguish.  It also pops against all the darker colors and complements the reddish tones of the bricks in the path and column. Very smart!

The cover has a nice, historical look to it. You can tell it's from an older time period. There's also a cat prominently on display that will have young readers picking it up to see what it's about!

My favorite part is the house in the background. It's such an unusual shape and has a great atmosphere. I love it!
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Title: ROSE
Author: Holly Webb
Release Date: Sept. 3, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Received: For Review 

Rose isn't like the other orphans at St Bridget's Home for Abandoned Girls. Instead of dreaming of getting adopted by loving, wealthy parents, Rose wants to get a job and be independent. She doesn't need anyone but herself. She finds her escape working as a maid for Mr. Fountain, an alchemist. Unable to ignore the magic that flows throughout the grand residence, Rose realizes that just maybe; she might have a little bit of magic in her too. 

This new series featuring magicians, witches, talking cats, mist-monsters, and friendships will have young readers in a trance!

Ready to go on an adventure with Rose?

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  1. This sounds like such a good book. I will have to put it on my to read soon list.

  2. Magic and orphans, sounds like a great combination!

  3. Magic and orphans, sounds like a great combination!

  4. I loved Rose and am very anxious to find out what happens to her next!


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