This is a story my fourteen-year-old self would have loved. It has everything a teen-age girl craves… magic, romance, dogs, and a substantial lack of parental supervision. The author does well at bringing the fantasies of young girls to the page. Ms. Hebron has created wonderfully loving and supportive relationships between the main character, her brothers, and friends. They are all equal parts kind, chivalrous, and adventurous.
I enjoyed the natural dialogue throughout the book. These are conversations teenagers have with each other; their mannerisms and turn of phrase were all spot-on. The bravado of teenage boys is also presented well. The headstrong antagonist is easy to dislike, and the rival family is equally distasteful… for all those teenage, not completely based in reality reasons.
My gentle critique of this story is that there are a few too many passages that were redundant. While it’s important to make sure outside characters know what’s going on in a first-person narrative, a full retelling isn’t necessarily the best writing technique. I would have enjoyed the story more had these scenes been reduced to only what was necessary, and instead, explore more of the emotional and physical responses from the characters. Also, I was hungry for more of the history behind the family feud and the magical learning process. This is the first book in a series, so I am hopeful that those curiosities will be satiated in future books.
As a writer myself, I found some of the vocabulary in this book interesting and curious. Ms. Hebron is a native of Great Britain, and I found it curious how some items (especially clothing) and places common to both the US and England have different names and descriptions. It was fun to take a little time at the end of each reading session to Google what I didn’t know and expand my understanding. Also, these characters drink a LOT of tea! 😊
This was a quick read, and I’m interested in seeing how the characters and story develop through their arcs in future books in this series.
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