My review of Book One, The Night Watchman Express:
Miriam’s comfortable world is thrown into chaos when her father dies and his so-called business partners, Virgil and Theodosia Marchpane move in take over the mansion. They’ve brought along their spoiled son, Simon, and his friend of more modest means, Neil. Upon the horrid realization that Theodosia is intent on moving Miriam up to the attic and installing Simon in her room, Miriam is not going down without a fight. She throws things, she curses, and is relegated to her room for days with only bread and water.
Enter Manalapata Postulate, a character every bit as trippy as her name suggests. As Miriam’s new governess, she has a hypnotic hold on everyone—for instance, the very racist Theodosia cannot recall saying yes to hiring Miss Postulate, who is the color of dark chocolate, yet Theodosia’s signature’s on the contract!
At first Miriam rails against her new governess, but soon Miss Postulate, or Mana, not only turns Miriam into a proper lady, she has also, to Theodosia’s horror, charmed young Simon and Neil. When Miriam asks Mana why she’s being so nice, we wonder too! Everyone has a nefarious motivation that is big fun trying to figure out. Danger lurks, and finally, the kids learn that Mana has been taken. Upon trying to rescue her, Simon and Miriam are whisked away on none other than the Night Train that inspires their fearful dreams.
Part two brings us to the island of Lampala where Miss Postulate grew up. She’s been kidnapped and Neil is determined to search for her. It's here that DeLuca crafts her most original setting and language, a testament to her vivid imagination and prowess as a storyteller. Neil is charged with watching a native girl, even more impossible than Miriam ever was, and the earlier plot is echoed in his own creative ways of bringing Riki around. The more serious task is to rescue Mana, who they find hanging in a cage off the edge of a cliff! I admire DeLuca’s quirky sense of adventure, and expertise at weaving together all of the mystifying threads without dropping any. Her prose is gorgeous. Tweens and middle-graders will love this series, as well as teens and even adults.
Where to find Alison and The Crown Phoenix series:
The series on Amazon
At B&N for Nook: Night Watchman Express, The Devil's Kitchen, Lamplighter's Special
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What book are you thankful for this November?