Tiger Heart by Penny Chrimes

tiger heart.jpgTitle: Tiger Heart

Author: Penny Chrimes

Genre: Fantasy/Time slip/Historical

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: 14th January 2020

Format: Paperback

Pages: 260

Price: $15.99

Synopsis: One magical friendship. One roaring adventure.

The magical tale of a bold young chimney sweep and a remarkable tiger, a dangerously hypnotic ruby and a mystical land that’s found across an ocean and through a storm. Perfect for fans of THE GIRL OF INK AND STARS and PAX.

One magical friendship. One roaring adventure.

The magical tale of a bold young chimney sweep and a remarkable tiger, a dangerously hypnotic ruby and a mystical land found across an ocean and through a storm. Perfect for fans of The Girl of Ink and Stars and Pax.

Fly never meant to end up in a cage with a man-eating tiger. And though she’s sure she’s no princess, when the tiger addresses her as ‘your majesty’, she can’t help but vow to free him and return him home.

But the bird-filled jungles and cloud-topped mountains of the tiger’s homeland are an ocean away. And not everyone wants the tiger – or Fly – to get there alive.

With dark and dangerous forces working against them, will Fly be able to fulfil her promise and maybe – just maybe – become the queen her tiger knows her to be?

~*~

Gutterling and chimney-sweep Fly lives in a world that is partially Georgian, and partially Victorian – combing inventiveness of one with rumble-tumble of another to create a unique yet familiar London. It is here that she has lived her entire life after being found outside an orphanage with a strange box with strange symbols. Brought up in a tough world where she’s given little education little clothing and taught to steal, Fly soon finds herself face-to-face with a tiger, and this is where her journey begins as she escapes the life she’s known for a faraway land where, the tiger tells her, she is a princess. Here, she must find her family and save the animals who are destined to be sold by those trying to stop Fly gain her throne back.

Along her journey to Barithea, the mystical country she is trying to get to, Fly meets a boy called Jack, who looks remarkably like her. Reaching Barithea is their first challenge: surviving what is to come is their next challenge, and Fly and Jack must work together to defeat the forces that wish to destroy their family and place of birth.

This was a unique story, combining a historical setting with magical realism and a touch of fantasy to create a world that is believable – Barithea could be a real country, one that is undiscovered, yet it also fits the fantasy country bill. As a result, it is perfectly constructed and perfectly fits in with the feel and tone of the novel. This is one that had a great start, a great middle and wonderful ending for all ages nine and older – great to read alone or with someone and share your thoughts.

In Penny Chrimes’ first novel, an exquisite world has been created that readers can lose themselves to, and it captures danger, childlike wonder and a faraway world of royalty, talking tigers and cursed jewels that threaten to ruin entire families and kingdoms if action to protect them and preserve the traditions of the culture and land is not taken by Fly, Jack, and her tiger.

This was a lovely novel, and one I highly recommend. I hope others enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Bluebottle by Belinda Castles

bluebottle.jpgTitle: Bluebottle

Author: Belinda Castles

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publisher: Allen and Unwin

Published: 23rd May 2018

Format: Paperback

Pages: 250

Price: $29.99

Synopsis:With sea-salt authenticity, Belinda Castles sets the Bright family in the sprawling paradise of Bilgola Beach. But darkness is found both in the iconic setting as well as in the disturbing behaviour of one of the family.

As he tilted the blinds she saw her mother in her tennis whites, standing at the kitchen bench, staring out into the dark bushland that bordered their houses. That was what Tricia did these days, looked into the bush as though it would attack one of them.

On a sweltering day in a cliff-top beach shack, Jack and Lou Bright grow suspicious about the behaviour of their charismatic, unpredictable father, Charlie. A girl they know has disappeared, and as the day unfolds, Jack’s eruptions of panic, Lou’s sultry rebellions and their little sister Phoebe’s attention-seeking push the family towards revelation.

Twenty years later, the Bright children have remained close to the cliff edges, russet sand and moody ocean of their childhood. Behind the beautiful surfaces of their daily lives lies the difficult landscape of their past, always threatening to break through. And then, one night in late summer, they return to the house on the cliff…

Gripping and evocative, Bluebottle is a story of a family bound by an inescapable past, from the award-winning author of The River Baptists and Hannah and Emil.

~*~

AWW-2018-badge-roseThe Bright family are spending Christmas in an old cliff-top beach shack, listening to their father’s plans for the place, but his erratic and suspicious behaviour confuses the family, and forces Lou to become sultry and rebel as her little sister, Phoebe does what she can to grab everyone’s attention, and Jack erupts in panic. At the same time, there is the mystery of Monica, a girl that Lou and Jack know from school who has disappeared. Only her backpack has been found, and Lou wonders if her father knows more than he is letting on.

The novel goes between Christmas and Boxing Day 1994 – and twenty years later, where the mystery of Monica’s disappearance hasn’t been solved, and where Lou, Jack and Phoebe are all grappling with their own lives: Jack’s broken marriage and separation from his daughter, Phoebe’s photography and Lou – a successful real estate agent with a family. When the house they spent that fateful summer in comes back on the market, they reunite there, and slowly, over the days that lead up to that meeting and that follow, what happened there is revealed slowly, and family secrets come out that bring them closer together,

The story of the Bright children, and the revelations of what happened to their father and school mate drive this novel. The secrets of their past slowly come out, though at times not wholly obvious, and reveal three children whose lives were touched by tragedy and who have lived with the shadows of what happened that summer – and yet, in their own ways, they have coped and overcome it, and forged their own identities.

Lou, Jack and Phoebe are close, and it was delightful to see the relationships of family, siblings and parent and child at the forefront of this novel – the good and the bad, and everything in between. The importance of these relationships that the Bright children experienced in their youth influenced them as adults, and they were shown as real, and complex characters.

An intriguing read, where the answers are not always obvious, and keeps you guessing until the last page, a kind of family orientated mystery that shows life isn’t always perfect.