"I thoroughly enjoyed it. The magical fantasy was done in such a believable way, it was easy to visualise the sights Esme was seeing – feel her emotions and fears. I’m really looking forward to Esme’s Gift when it is published early in 2019! Highly recommended to fans of the genre." - Brenda, Goodreads
Published: October 30th, 2017
“A fresh new fantasy of an enchanting world.” - Wendy Orr, author of Nim’s Island and Dragonfly Song.
When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?
But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.
After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.
This fresh, inventive tale is an ideal read for younger teens.
The peal of bells followed Esme to the far end of the church grounds, where lichen-licked tombstones leaned in toward the earth. A row of cenotaphs stood beneath a sprawling oak tree, commemorating those whose bodies had never been found. The leaves shivered in the breeze, casting a mosaic of shifting light over the stones below. Esme paused by the last tablet, dated seven years ago.
In Memory of
ARIANE MAY SILVER
Beloved Wife of Aaron and Mother to Esme
1950 – 1981
Lost at Sea
Tears pricked behind Esme’s eyes. The words blurred. Her mother had vanished, without trace, when she was eight. No one knew what had really happened to her – or so they said.
Esme didn’t believe that her mother had drowned – she couldn’t believe it. Ariane had always been a strong swimmer, careful and responsible around the ocean. But some nights, fear got the better of her. Some nights, Esme would wake with a scream, haunted by an image of her mother sinking beneath the waves.
She slid down to the ground, and leaned back against the oak, ignoring the bark digging into her back. Her heart felt bruised and battered, like someone had thrown it in the air and missed the catch. Each moment replayed over and over: the guests’ titters, her father’s bloodless face, the vicar’s condescension. Objecting had made no difference, in the end.
Why did I even bother?
Deep down, she knew why. Because sitting there and saying nothing had felt too much like betrayal, like she had given up on Ariane, just like everyone else.
The bark jabbed into her back like an accusatory finger.
So instead, you let them all down.
About the author:
I was born in Brisbane, Australia, and now live in Sydney. Apart from writing and reading, which take up most of my time, I love walking, travelling and playing piano (badly).
As a child, I was called Dizzy Lizzy – which I regarded as an insult all my life, until I started writing! Now, daydreaming is a central part of what I do. My favourite childhood books included the Chronicles of Narnia and Enid Blyton’s adventure stories. I was such an avid reader that my godfather gave me the complete works of Shakespeare when I was ten. (Still haven’t read them all…) My reading tastes nowadays are eclectic, ranging from classic authors such as Jane Austen, to the works of modern YA writers, including J.K. Rowling, Tamora Pierce, Melina Marchetta and Maggie Stiefvater.
I love movies almost as much as books. Dreamlike films – such as the works of Hayao Miyazaki – hugely appeal to me, as do any clever psychological films and TV series which revolve around female characters, such as Buffy and Veronica Mars.
I used to enjoy writing as a child, but then I grew up and was sadly waylaid by more serious pursuits. Reading to my own kids reminded me of how much I missed getting lost in other worlds, and once I started writing again, I couldn’t stop. I am also fascinated with people’s motivations and personalities, and now I get to explore them on the page. I am a member of the SCBWI, the CBCA, and a reviewer for CBCA’s Reading Time.
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