The Pear Affair by Judith Eagle
|The Pear Affair by Judith Eagle|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Romping through Paris, above ground and underground, this is an exciting, heartwarming story.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: March 2020|
|Publisher: Faber & Faber|
|External links: Author's website|
Set in the 1960's, this is a mystery adventure story, all about a little girl called Nell and her quest to find her nanny, Perrine (Pear) who left her very suddenly and then, after keeping in touch regularly by post, disappeared completely from her life, leaving Nell bereft. There's everything in this story, with underground tunnels as the playground of gangs of children, to travel and detective work, a mystery mould infecting Parisian bakeries, mysterious figures following Nell around, and a set of truly dreadful parents!
I felt hungry throughout this book, hankering for some freshly baked bread, delicious French pastries and hot chocolate made with real chocolate! It's very atmospheric, and Paris lives and breathes in the story. I do love Paris, and I'm sure there will be many readers who want to take a trip there after finishing the story. I've never been down in the catacombs, but I think I'd like to take a look there too now! You get a lovely sense of the city, and the people, through the story.
Nell is a lively, believable character, and the range of children she meets in Paris make for a fun cavalcade of kids. We're set to like her, and feel sorry for her, from the start as we're told that her parents named her after a handbag, which Nell declares her mother loves more than her. We see that she had a French nanny named Perrine (Pear) when she was small, but then later Pear was suddenly sent away, without any explanation to Nell, and then Nell was sent away to boarding school and her parents keep her there through the holidays, if possible.
On this occasion however Nell has been sent home as the school is closed to everyone. Her parents are just about to head to Paris, and are forced into taking Nell along too. Nell can hardly believe her luck, since she has been hoping and planning to find a way to get to Paris, to try and track down Pear. The mystery spins wider and wider, however, as Nell finds that there is much more to Pear's disappearance than she first thought, and it looks as if it has implications for the whole of Paris!
Nell's parents are truly horrible throughout, in a pantomime baddie sort of way. I had an almost physical reaction to them whenever they appeared in the story, and I was really hoping for Nell to find a way to escape them! The bellboy who Nell befriends is also a good character, as is the Bellboy's grandfather. The whole story is very engaging, and it's definitely one of those books where you want to read just one more chapter, and then maybe just one more again.
I really believed in Nell. She has a fear of the dark, that she has to find a way to overcome during the story, and she just seemed to ring true, being one of those lovely children's book characters who comes to life in your head. The mystery worked well too, and left me guessing as to what was happening and how things would resolve in the end. I loved all the exciting underground action!
Aimed at the 8 to 12 age range, it could just as easily be read aloud to younger children, and sneaked to younger teens who are looking for a great, mystery adventure story.
Further reading: You might also enjoy Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell or The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
You can read more book reviews or buy The Pear Affair by Judith Eagle at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Pear Affair by Judith Eagle at Amazon.com.
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