As Lodie, wait I stand corrected, Elodie, is leaving her tearful family and her home on the island of Lahnt, to find a place for herself as an apprentice to a weaver, she receives some final wisdom. "Stay away from crafty dragons and shape-shifting ogres, keep your thoughts private, and if you have to speak to a dragon never call it a he or a she." Most important of all, "beware the whited sepulcher." With a copper tucked safely in her purse, she is off to see the world but she has her own plan and it does not involve weaving. Elodie wants to be a mansioner so she can act out the stories she loves and that is the adventure that she is heading toward. On the rough sail to the island, Elodie learns from a fellow passenger that she cannot apprentice for free; she must pay for an apprenticeship. She does not have the money to buy her way into this promising world so as she sets foot on the island for the first time, she will have to use her wits to find shelter, food and a future. The voice of the master storyteller, Gail Carson Levine, captures your attention and then holds you in her spell as she creates a new world for you to enter. Welcome to a world of Two Castles, one belonging to a king and the other belonging to a shape-shifting ogre. Welcome to a world of a dragon soon to be named IT, who solves riddles, puzzles, finds missing persons and cooks skewers of cheese for 5 tins. Elodie is about to be taken under and on top of the wing of IT who decides to take her in as an assistant. This path will lead on to the castle where the ogre lives and has asked for help to discover who is stealing from his castle and poaching from his lands. Most important though he asks IT and Elodie to find his missing dog. We are lured on deeper and deeper into a world where many people are mansioners though not all are doing it as a profession. Can Elodie trust IT? Is that handsome Master Thiel a good person or a bad person? Can the princess be counted on as friend or foe? Will she find a whited sepulcher? The honeyed plot embroils us and we search the clues deducing and inducing along with Elodie and IT. A wonderful blend of mystery, adventure, sleuthing and a courageous female protagonist. The search to find a new classic fairy tale is over. 328 pages Ages 8-12
A Tale of Two Castles
Harper Collins, May 2011
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