Friday, August 18, 2023

Today's read... The Secret of Lillian Velvet by Jaclyn Moriarty

by Jaclyn Moriarty
Levine Querido
Middle Grade Fantasy
448 pages
ages 9 to 12

OCTOBER 31st!!!

Here are only a few of the wonderful, strange, and mysterious elements in this breathtaking visit to the Kingdoms and A very proper girl named Lillian Velvet, living a very lonely life with a nasty Grandmother.  A jar of coins, each with the power to take Lillian on a journey to a different time and place…and also to grant a single wish. A small boy in a barn about to be crushed to death by a load of hay. A family, each member in mortal danger, who are strangers to Lillian (but whom clever readers will recognize). And a web of dangerous magic closing tight around all.  Who IS this Lillian Velvet? And what is her secret?

Only Jaclyn Moriarty has the ability to make readers laugh, even while they grip the sides of their chairs in suspense. In THE SECRET OF LILLIAN VELVET she is at the height of her storytelling powers, spinning, spinning, spinning seemingly disparate elements until all is revealed as one delicious, tantalizing whole. 



The world invites in and doesn't let go as it twists and turns in all the right secretive and enticing ways.

Lillian has grown up with her grandmother, carefully sheltered from the world around them. With no friends and no contact to others, despite living in the middle of a town, her life takes a huge turn when she receives a jar of coins. These magical coins take her to different times and places, where she runs into people in dangerous situations. Little does she know that they are all connected, and that there is more at stake than she could have ever imagined.

Every part of this read is carefully laid out like an amazing puzzle. Each piece is intriguing and offers a tiny clue but doesn't really give the full picture until the end. The characters Lillian meets slowly build a complete picture, and while she doesn't realize the connections completely thanks to her own past, the reader gets enough little crumbs here and there to piece things together. But not completely, and that's what makes the ending sit so well when it all becomes clear.

The tale flows smoothly and is very well written with a more traditional flair. Each scene offers enough familiarity to make it easy to settle in, while fantasy adds the fun. There are tenser situations and a sense of urgency builds as Lillian's journeys continue. Lillian is easy to connect and her decisions are understandable. The characters she meets are as intriguing as the world around her and all of this comes to light through vivid details. While the story is very age appropriate, I would recommend it to slightly older audiences, ages ten to fourteen or those younger readers, who enjoy getting lost in rich worlds.

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