Rose by Holly Webb. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2013.
I received an advance copy of this book last fall but between planning story time for fall and winter, and everything else I never got around to finish reading it. Well, I just did and love it. I found this book to be the perfect combination of mystery and adventure. Webb has created the perfect setting with a mix of Downton Abbey and Harry Potter with noble households, servants and magicians all coexisting together. Rose, our main protagonist, is an orphan whose only hope is to be placed into a wealthy home to serve as a housemaid. When this happens, she is quite excited about her future, only to find out that Mr. Fountain is a well-known magician. As Rose panics that her secret will be revealed and she will be sent back to the orphanage, she realizes that controlling her unknown abilities might be something she actually has no control over. She tries to befriend the other household staff and stay out of the way of Freddie, Mr. Fountain’s apprentice, but that proves to be impossible. When her best friend goes missing from the orphanage, Rose sets on motion a rescue mission that could potentially expose her.
The pace of the book is perfect giving the reader enough time to get to know the main characters before things become complicated. Webb’s describes a world rich in details with a strong combination of girl-boy characters. This book will appeal to both genders and especially to those who enjoy historical fiction/fantasy. I am looking forward to reading book #2 Rose and the Lost Prince.