Rossell, Judith Withering by Sea, 261 pgs. Simon & Schuster (Atheneum), 2016 (2014 Australia). $16.99. Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (children in peril).
11-year-old orphan Stella Montgomery lives in a resort hotel with her 3 very strict Aunts. One night, while rescuing a favorite book from the hotel’s greenhouse, Stella witnesses something terrible which puts her and the object she found in grave danger.
An evil magician, ancient spirits and a group of “entertaining” cats make this mystery set in 19th century Australia an exciting adventure. Stella is delightful. She’s perky and resilient, also smart and brave; a great main character that both boys and girls can relate to. Although the setting is very old fashioned, Rossell’s writing is vibrant and descriptive. I enjoyed the intrigue and the theater connection quite a lot.
EL, MS - ESSENTIAL Lisa Librarian