The Mourning Emporium by Michelle Lovric
|The Mourning Emporium by Michelle Lovric|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Rousing adventure set in 1900s Venice and London and a worthy follow up to its predecessor, The Undrowned Child. On the surface is a mix of swashbuckling and humour and underneath is some truly awesome research and a vocabulary-busting turn of phrase. Great stuff.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: October 2010|
|External links: Author's website|
Two years ago in 1898, Teodora, the Undrowned Child of prophecy, saved Venice from its resurrected traitor, Bajamonte Tiepolo. Since then, she and her partner-in-prophecy Lorenzo, the Studious Son, have led a fairly uneventful existence. But now, Venice is in peril once more. Ice creeps through its lagoon, vampire eels encased menacingly within it, and black cormorants have returned to spy on the city in their great, black clouds. Teodora knows baddened magic when she sees it, and her heart sinks at the awful realisation - il Traditore is back...
This time, Teo and Renzo have not one, but two, cities to save. And this sequel to The Undrowned Child sees them travel from Venice to floating orphanage, to pirate ship, to London, where il Traditore is in league with a minor member of the British royal family. Queen Victoria lies dying in Osborne House and Harold Hoskins would like nothing more than to supplant Prince Edward and secure the succession. It's as rousing and vivid a book as its predecessor - on the surface is a mix of swashbuckling and humour, but underlying the action is some truly awesome research and a vocabulary-busting turn of phrase.
Once again, the supporting cast adds sparkle after sparkle. I was most glad to reacquaint myself with Venice's curry-loving, salty-tongued mermaids and I shared their disgust in their London counterparts - languid, fussy, uptight melusines they are, addled on Victorian London's various quackeries. They're all drug addicts! As were many Victorian ladies, as Lovric points out in her endnotes. The remedies the London mermaids use are genuine preparations on sale at the time. Turtledove, a kindhearted, orphan-saving, talking bulldog, was my other favourite. He's as memorable as any Narnian creation.
There are ghosts, talking animals, pirates, orphans, heroes and villains in world "between the linings", but there's also a vivid and utterly accurate historical picture of London and Venice at the time. There's pace and tension, and there's a genuine and robust sense of humour underlying it all. Recommended.
My thanks to the good people at Orion for sending the book.
They might also enjoy The Cabinet of Curiosities by Paul Dowswell, a highly enjoyable historical adventure set in Prague at the courst of the Holy Roman Emperor at the end of the sixteenth century. I think The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner, a French Revolution historical fantasy, might also appeal.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Mourning Emporium by Michelle Lovric at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Mourning Emporium by Michelle Lovric at Amazon.com.
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