- Character Building Curriculum
- If You Liked Indiana Jones
- If You Liked Nick of Time
- If You Liked The Westing Game
- magic tricks
- mature readers
- New York
- older readers
- organized crime
- overcoming obstacles
- secret agents
- special gifts
- standing up for yourself
- Wild Thing/Annie Oakley/Mirette
Ben hardly settles into his uncle’s house in America before there are sinister phone calls, a break-in, and a murder. Odd answers to his telegrams sent to his big sister Liza’s new boarding school in Switzerland, no way to contact his parents on yet another business trip away from their London home.
The newspaper report that Mr. and Mrs. Bloomswell had been found dead cannot be correct – Ben and his parents were still sailing across the Atlantic on the date given for their funeral! As his uncle explains the true nature of the Bloomswells’ overseas journeys to stop sinister plots against world peace, he accidently lets out secrets that were better left unsaid.
Suddenly, Ben must outrun ruffians and mechanical men sent by a mysterious enemy. These American tinmen have no insignia that binds them to a family in loyalty. Could they be agents of The Buyer his uncle warned him about or someone worse? Ben tries to escape a decrepit orphanage far from the city, using skills learned from Olivander, the Bloomswells’ loyal mechanical man. He must get to Liza so they can solve the mystery of their parents’ disappearance!
Hurrying to hide aboard a steamer in New York harbor, Ben can only pray that the ship is heading for Europe. Down in the ship’s cargo hold, a circus owner guarding crates of super-secret magic tricks swears he won’t report Ben as a stowaway. As the ship slowly journeys toward England, Mr. Holiday and Ben realize that they are being chased by someone or something that wants both them and their cargo.
Are Ben and the circus folk really on the same side? Can they outwit the enemies pursuing them? Is Liza safe at school? Have their parents succeeded in their vital mission?
Crossing oceans and mountains on ships, carriages, and railway trains, pursued by mechanical men and shadowy villains, Ben’s entries in The Bloomswell Diaries are a fascinating alternate view of the early 1900s with a very deep, sinister mystery.
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA
Ben Bloomswell has grown up with parents who are often gone. They always come back, but this time things are different. For starters, his parents have sent him to stay with an uncle in America instead of having him stay in England. His sister has been sent back to her boarding school in Switzerland as part of their parents plan to keep them safe. Ben wakes up his first morning in the states to discover an article that claims his parents have died. His uncle tells Ben that his parents have made enemies in their work—enemies that would love to take Ben hostage. However, before his uncle can come up with a plan to keep him safe, he mysteriously disappears. Pursued by men who want to kidnap him whose motives Ben doesn’t understand, Ben escapes capture from them and their robotic automatons that carry out the demands of the bad guys. Ben decides he must find a way to get to Europe to protect his sister, and then together theywill search for their parents, whom Ben feels must still be alive. This novel is full of action, and will be a hit with fans of adventure stories. The story moves quickly and keeps readers on the edge of their seats wondering if Ben will accomplish his goals. The one complaint is that while the important story line is resolved, there are other unresolved plot lines at the end of the story, guaranteeing a sequel is probably (hopefully) on its way! 258 pages
Reviewed by: Angela Cooke Sides, Librarian, Texas, USA