My Lockdown Books: Twenty One

I was an unofficial champion for this series right from the beginning as a friend of mine was then working for Nosy Crow, the hugely successful independent children’s publishing house.  I reviewed many of them because I genuinely enjoyed them myself as well as thinking that children would!

I’ve chosen Olivia’s Enchanted Summer, the fourth in the series because it’s set in Edinburgh where I had the very great pleasure of meeting Lyn Gardner.  I had a press ticket to her event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.  That was quite strange.  I’m more used to being on the stage in conversation with authors and I don’t very often have time to sit in the audience.  Here’s what I said about the book in The Scotsman the previous autumn.

Edinburgh is the star of Olivia’s Enchanted Summer by Lyn Gardner. Set during the Festival, it vividly conveys the vitality and diversity of that season of the city’s life. The Swan Circus, featuring Olivia and her Dad Jack, is performing on the Fringe but there is more drama outside the Big Top than their audiences could ever guess at. Why are Olivia’s Dad and Grandmother arguing? Who does a young street magician remind Olivia of? And what is the mystery surrounding Evie and Tati? As Olivia’s summer unfolds it feels anything but enchanted. Lyn Gardner goes from strength to strength in this series full of complex and developing characters and believable but exciting storylines.

Rose Campion and the Christmas Mystery by Lyn Gardner

I first came across Lyn Gardner’s books when Nosy Crow sent me a copy of Olivia’s First Term the first book in a contemporary stage school series.  I enjoyed it very much and went on to read all the books in the series and review many of them.  One of the (many) lovely things about Nosy Crow for a reviewer is that they remember the kind of books you’ve shown a particular interest in and send you others like them.  And so I also acquired the Rose Campion series by the same author.

Rose Campion and the Christmas Mystery is the final outing for this heroine and now seems like the seasonally appropriate time to mention it.  Rose is a feisty and independent leading lady, a foundling who has made a life for herself at Campion’s Palace of Varieties and Wonders.  She’s solved mysteries before this but now faces something more deadly.  The Duchess, ruler of London’s criminal underworld, is about to be released from Holloway…

Lyn’s books are immediately appealing, written with a light touch, and full of strong and believable characters.  As soon as I opened this one I wanted to know wat was going to happen.  I can’t tell you much as almost any information would spoil the story.  But I can say that Lyn knows how to tell a good story and that, if you enjoy a good mystery, this is one you shouldn’t miss.  It’s written with upper primary school children in mind but I’m with CS Lewis in thinking that a good children’s book can be read by anyone.  This is a good children’s book.