Title: Grace’s Escape
Author: Louise Park
Genre: Magical Realism, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Berbay Publishing
Published: 29th September 2021
Synopsis: Grace and her mother have moved from Broome to a real-life Victorian castle, steeped in literary history. Intrepid Grace has discovered that she can slip back in time, but what she finds there is danger. She has to help locate two sisters who have been kidnapped and uncover how she and her family fit into the castle’s storied past.
Twelve-year-old Grace and her mother have moved from Broome to a real-life Victorian castle, where Grace has discovered an enchanted map that enables her to slip back in time. But what she finds in the past is danger. Two sisters who are supposed to be staying at the castle are missing, and it’s up to Grace to find them, without revealing her secrets.
Grace’s life has changed since moving to Castle Faerie. She’s discovered a magical map, travelled back in time, and met beloved authors, and made a new friend, Ellie, whose father works at the castle. Grace and Ellie are determined to go back in time again – last time, they went to 1862, and met Alice Liddell, Lewis Carroll, Rupert Potter, Charles Dickens, and Louisa May Alcott. This time, the map takes her, Grace and her dog, Coco, back to 1890 – with a new Lady Darling, a thirteen-year-old May Gibbs (known as Mamie), Beatrix Potter and J.M. Barrie. Yet this time, they are mistaken for two missing girls – Georgiana and Theodora Bannock. Grace and Ellie set out – with Mamie – to find the girls and get them back to Castle Faerie, but a rotten plan is afoot and a dangerous man is out to ensure that nobody can thwart his plans – but he hasn’t counted on what these girls are capable of!
Grace and Ellie’s journey this time has a bigger mystery and more famous writers – or within the context of the story, writers who are yet to create the works that we know them best for. As Grace, Ellie and Mamie work together to find Theodora and Georgiana, and get back to their own time. The trick is doing this without revealing that they are from the future! Louise Park manages to get this balanced nicely – and ensures that what we know in our world is not changed by the actions that Ellie and Grace take to help the Bannock girls, and in their interactions with Mamie, Beatrix Potter, and J.M. Barrie – though the seeds of what we know they will create are planted. I felt as though I met these authors as well – and now reading their works will be even more special to me.
This is a wonderful series where literature and friendship is celebrated, and all the books I read and loved come to life. It is a celebration of magic as well and bravery, of finding your true friend and what really matters – and how far you’d go to help and protect your friends, as Grace and Ellie do throughout the novel. I loved going on their adventures with them and meeting their favourite authors. It gave a new slant to time travel, and made it work well within the story and castle, and I loved that it referred to books like Narnia and the Famous Five as well – that made it truly special!
I read Grace’s Secrets and Grace’s Escape back-to-back and can’t have imagined a better way to do it. I loved that we got to solve a mystery and I really want to visit Faerie Glen Hollow – it sounds like the kind of village I’d love to see and explore, and even meet Grace and Ellie! I have fallen in love with these characters and I hope there are more books to come and more authors to meet!