The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow.
A very special book.
OK, first things first – I loved this book. Everything about it is special: the gold highlights on it’s cover, the lyrical writing style, not forgetting the unique story itself. The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow was published in 2015 but it has a wonderfully old-fashioned feel. I have already ordered, The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth, book two in the series and book three, The Mystery of the Painted Dragon, is due next month. Next month! Yippee.
Right, now I’ve got that out of the way. Let’s get down to business.
You are cordially invited to attend the Grand Opening of Sinclair’s department store!
Enter a world of bonbons, hats, perfumes and MYSTERIES around every corner. WONDER at the daring theft of the priceless CLOCKWORK SPARROW! TREMBLE as the most DASTARDLY criminals in London enact their wicked plans! GASP as our bold heroines, Miss Sophie Taylor and Miss Lilian Rose, CRACK CODES, DEVOUR ICED BUNS and vow to bring the villains to justice…
I actually think this doesn’t do justice to the book. It makes it seem a little silly and shallow, which isn’t the story at all. Whilst I can see they were trying to set up the feel of a by-gone era, for me, it doesn’t draw the reader into the ‘mystery’ like it should.
All the characters in the book are well-written. Although the story centres on Sophie Taylor, we actually see the story through four points of view.
Sophie Taylor: Sophie’s father has recently died leaving her an orphan with no means of support. As Sophie is fourteen years old, she is too old for an orphanage. She’s lucky to land herself a job in the hat department of Sinclair’s, the newest, most luxurious department store in London.
Even though Sophie was brought up as a typical ‘young lady’, she is clever, brave, kind and resourceful. In short; a great heroine.
Billy Parker: Billy is the young porter at Sinclair’s. He is more likely to be found reading his story paper than working. Will all the tips he learned in those mystery stories help solve the case?
And finally we have Joe. On the run from the infamous Baron’s gang, living on the streets, but with a good heart. These four characters work together to solve the clues of who stole the Clockwork Sparrow? And why?
No spoilers here but I will say that the stakes for the robbery turned out to be much higher than just the robbery of a jewelled antique. Woodfine scatters the clues cleverly throughout the story until the reader doesn’t know who to trust and the events happen at an ever-increasing pace. The book contains some fights, a shooting and Sophie gets abducted but it’s all handled well so I don’t think it will give even the most sensitive reader nightmares.
A glimpse into a world of times gone by.
“The shop girls there were expected to work fourteen hour days and to sleep in communal dormitories above the shop, but were paid only a few meagre shillings a week.”
It’s a far cry from today. When I started reading, I did wonder what modern day children would make of the language; the duffers, and rotters, the shillings and guineas. But anything that can’t really be guessed from the context is skillfully explained. It’s good writing. Did I mention I loved this book?
I’m adding my review of The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow to the British Books Challenge for January. Katherine Woodfine is a Lancashire lass after my own heart. I’ll definitely be reading more of her work.
I usually avoid setting New Years goals and resolutions. It naffs me off when I don’t reach them. However, one of the challenges is the British Books Challenge 2017. Reading British Books is definitely high on my agenda and you only have to commit to reading and reviewing just one book per month, so … deep breath … I’m jumping in.
The British Books Challenge 2017.
Here are the rules regarding qualifying books and authors.
- Authors who were born in the UK, live in the UK and are published in the UK
- Authors who were born overseas but are CURRENTLY living in the UK and his/her books were/are being published in the UK first
- Authors who were born in the UK are currently living overseas but his/her books are being published in the UK first
Sounds easy enough.
Every month I’ll post a link to the book review on this page so you can keep an eye on my progress.
January’s book for the British Books Challenge 2017
January’s book will be The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine, a Lancashire Lass born in Preston, so she definitely counts 🙂
I picked this up from the library last month but Christmas got too hectic for me to start it. You can read my review here.
February’s book for the British Books Challenge 2017
There is a new favourite book in our household. It was Bedtime in the Jungle by the super talented author/illustrator John Butler. Find my review here.
March’s book for the British Books Challenge 2017
April’s book for the British Books Challenge 2017
A fun debut novel from Nikki Young. Find my full review here.
May’s book for the British Books Challenge 2017
A rhyming story about Pilot Jane, a fun and fearless airline captain. My review is here.
June’s book for the British Books Challenge 2017
Billy has a Birthday is a book about bullying by James Minter. Check out my review here.
If you’re joining in the challenge, leave a comment below and I’ll check out the books you’re reading.
Happy 2017. Let the challenge begin.
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Stacking the Shelves for Christmas
Forget about Christmas pudding, turkey and mince pies, Stacking the Shelves for Christmas is my book haul for my Christmas reading 2016. I added three books to my collection this week and I’ve read two, which I’m pleased about considering the time of year. I’m linking up with Stacking The Shelves over on Tynga’s Reviews, which is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual.
So, without further ado, the first book I bought was…
Fa La Llama La
I got Fa La Llama La by Stephanie Dagg for my Kindle. This is the first Christmas book I’ve got this year that hasn’t been aimed at pre-schoolers. Shameful, isn’t it?
Anyway, Fa La Llama La promises to be “a feel-good, festive and fun romcom with a resourceful heroine, a hero who’s a bit of a handful and some right woolly charmers”.
Sounds like Christmas night reading to me… and look at those cutesy llama’s.
Next up, the library got me a copy of …
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow.
I’ve been hearing good things about this book, the first in the series, by Katherine Woodfine and I finally got a copy from the library.
Enter a world of bonbons, hats, perfumes and MYSTERIES around every corner. WONDER at the daring theft of the priceless CLOCKWORK SPARROW! TREMBLE as the most DASTARDLY criminals in London enact their wicked plans! GASP as our bold heroines, Miss Sophie Taylor and Miss Lilian Rose, CRACK CODES, DEVOUR ICED BUNS and vow to bring the villians to justice…
Not exactly Christmassy but sounds a lot of fun.
My last book this week is…
Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe
Becca Fletcher has always hated Christmas but she has her reasons for being Little Miss Grinch. Now, though, she can’t avoid her version of ho-ho-hell – because she’s travelling to the Comfort Food Cafe to spend the festive season with her sister Laura and her family. She’s expecting mulled wine, 24-hour Christmas movie marathons and all kinds of very merry torture.
Looking at the cover the ‘merry torture’ could well be ‘death by whipped cream topping’. But I’m sure everything will work out right in the end.
So, I have my Christmas sorted. What will you be reading over the holidays?