Esme's Wish by Elizabeth Foster
Review 5 star
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Esme's Wish is a captivating, excellently-written middle-grade novel. Author Elizabeth Foster did a great job of keeping me reading as I followed Esme’s journey to investigate the disappearance of her mother, a brilliant painter. A messenger bird and a trail of clues in her mother’s art diary lead young Esme through a portal to the dimension of Aeolia. In Aeolia, the city of Esperance rises from an enchanted ocean. Water is the heart and soul of Aeolia’s being—and as Esme begins to discover water is the core of her being as well, she finds clues about her mother’s doings here. But Esperance is in trouble. Earthquakes are tearing the city apart and time is running out for Esme to solve the puzzle.
This colorful, well-constructed tale is as much detective story as fantasy and deftly blends both elements into a page-turning plot that hooks the reader in. I was fascinated by the creative water-world of Aeolia, described in Elizabeth Foster’s limpid, seductive prose. As Esme learns, “The history of Aeolia is writ in water,” and I liked the elaborate, detailed spin the story took on this idea. People in Esperance can live underwater, breathe underwater, walk on water, and manipulate water, and most people are born with a special magical Gift. The world’s lushly described architecture, mythology, sirens, and dragons create the allure of being whisked away into a great adventure, and every chapter offers another piece of Aeolia to explore. Esme’s Wish ends on a bit of an abrupt note, leaving room for more tales of Esperance yet to come.
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This is the companion for Sarah Scheele's newsletter blog. In it I share reviews for books I'd recommend/are similar to my own.