Author: Hana Tooke
Release date: July 21, 2020
My rating: 4.7 stars
After years of being repeatedly rejected for adoption, five orphans feel more like siblings despite their differences. One has extra fingers, another is too clumsy, one is selectively mute, another has lopsided ears, and another purposely frightens all potential adoptors away. Given all that, it’s no wonder they’re all unadoptable. When they’re illegally sold for hard labor, the orphans escape. Milou, a fan of the dark and creepy, uses this as an opportunity to try to find her family. Can the orphans keep their little family safe from the law, nosy neighbors, and the evil man who wants to enslave them, while also looking into the mysterious disappearance of Milou’s possible family?
The children were very self sufficient and talented. They might seem a bit weird to outsiders, but they used their wits and skills to survive. While the story was narrated from Milou’s perspective (third person), each orphan was given a distinctive voice and character. Their relationships exceeded the bounds of friendship and family.
The story is set in Amsterdam towards the end of the nineteenth century. It felt both historically and culturally accurate, giving us a flavor of the times and culture without being too overbearing.
I really enjoyed how the children used their talents. They had to produce a puppet show practically from scratch, and I enjoyed the descriptions of each part, puppet, and theatricality. There’s a touch of spookyness mixed in there, but not enough to frighten readers away. This is a children’s book after all.
The plot was good and very engaging. I’m happy with the way it resolved. It wasn’t unrealistically prefect, but it was a very good ending.
There’s a touch of fantasy in this book. Milou has an odd Sense that warns her and tries to keep her safe. The source of the Sense may lead to many answers that Milou seeks.
I enjoyed this book. It’s good for a Halloween read, or whenever one is in the mood of one. Or it can be read at any time. The spookyness level is minor and a background tone. There’s a touch of Lemony Snicker like feel of quirkiness, although I enjoyed this book much more than I did A Series of Unfortunate Events. The messages of friendship and found family will resonate with readers of all ages.
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.