As a fan of Jacqueline Harvey’s Alice-Miranda books, I was delighted to see a new little poppet land in my mail box – Clementine Rose – a precious and adorable 5-year-old who is delivered, as a baby, to the door of her heiress mother in a basket of dinner rolls. No one knows where young Clementine came from, but Lady Clarissa Appleby fell in love with her on sight, and Penberthy House quite soon became the young girls’ home.
Containing sixty rooms in an increasing state of disrepair, Lady Clarissa is forced to open a bed and breakfast in the home of her ancestors, in order to maintain upkeep of the house. It’s not easy but, with help, the mother and daughter team get by.
In this first Clementine adventure, Clarissa’s prickly Aunt Violet comes to Penberthy House, nursing a sordid secret. After gazing at her great aunt’s portrait in the halls of Penberthy House for years, Clementine is quite disarmed by her aunt’s cold, real life disposition – not to mention her bizarre hairless cat, Pharaoh. Demanding and difficult, Violet makes for a testy addition to the household. Clementine patiently attempts to befriend her aunt, but what is this secretive fashionista hiding?
It’s a delight to follow young Clemmie and her teacup pig Lavender along on this adventure with Aunt Violet. Harvey once again writes with a classic storyteller voice, painting an eccentric cast of characters and a charming storyline with the merest dusting of fairytale magic. A gorgeous new series best suited to children aged 5 to 9.
Clementine Rose and the Surprise Visitor is published by Random House.