Title: When This Bell Rings
Author: Allison Rushby
Genre: Mystery, fantasy
Publisher: Walker Books
Published: 2nd September 2020
Synopsis: What if you could get inside the world of your favourite books? No, really inside them . . .
In London’s Belgravia, Tamsin lives next door to Edie St Clair, famous author of the ‘London of the Bells’ series of graphic novels. With the series’ tenth and final novel overdue, Tamsin offers her idol help and discovers that Edie can literally draw herself into her stories. When Edie goes missing, Tamsin draws herself into the novel and lands in a world of unexpected danger. There, Tamsin discovers that Edie needs her more than she could have realised – only she has the power to write the perfect ending to this story. But the perfect ending will come at a great cost to all.
- From a trusted author who knows what her middle-grade audience wants to read.
- A strong follow-up title to Allison’s spooky middle grade titles The Turnkey, The Seven Keys and The Mulberry Tree.
- True to Rushby’s style, When This Bell Rings is a page-turning mystery that will keep readers enthralled until the very end.
Tamsin lives in London next to her favourite author, Edie St Clair, and decides to help Edie with the final book – but when Edie goes missing, Tamsin is pulled into the world of Belgravia. As she realises that Edie needs her more than ever, Tamsin works to find the perfect ending to the story – but is there more to her story than she herself knows, and what does it mean when she finally ends the story?
Allison Rushby’s latest book is a delightful fantasy mystery that is perfect for readers aged nine and older. Beginning with twelve-year-old Tamsin, we are pulled into the story from the get-go – there is a sense that things are not quite as they seem. This is the magic that drives the story, and the slow, meditative beginning works wonders to draw the reader into what is going on. It involves the reader in a unique way, making us feel like we are Tamsin as we venture into this world that she loves and inhabits.
As Tamsin explores this world that she loves, she uncovers secrets as she goes along – and the reader will discover many secrets, and a story within a story. I love books that do this, and each one is done differently. Allison has taken the idea of a story within a story and brought it to life and invigorated it exceptionally and beautifully, with an ending that is true to the story and style of the story.
The blending of fiction and reality – evident from the sense that Edie and Tamsin are able to draw themselves into a fictional world from the real world, giving the story a sense of magical realism and adventure that pulls the reader along at a decent pace. It kept me reading, and I read this book within two days – it is one that I hope to revisit because it can ignite the imagination and cleverly creates a meta world of story within story that is inspiring and made me want to write more and read more books like this. It is a book that will be treasured, that evokes a sense of the Golden Age of children’s literature – Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and so many others that all readers have met at some point in their lives. This book is an ode to writers and their characters, and that celebrates readers of all kinds, and a love of story and character for both reader and writer.
An excellent middle grade book I hope to revisit!