Review: Mistress of the Storm by ML Welsh

Mistress of the Storm by ML WelshVerity Gallant is the oldest child in her family. She’s rather plain and awkward, feels a bit like a social outcast at school, and stumbles along at home too where her beautiful, blonde, sweet little sister Poppy is obviously the favourite. One day Verity discovers a mysterious stranger in the library reading a strange book. He runs away when he sees her, taking the book with him, but Verity chases after him, following him down to the shore where he gets into a boat ready to row away. He gives the book to her when she challenges him, along with a mysterious round object. This seemingly innocuous event brings about huge changes in Verity’s life. Having been ignorant about her family’s history she begins to research about the gentry, with the help of her friends, and discovers skills and strengths that she never knew she had. Just in time too, for as the mysterious stranger tells her, the storm is coming…

Verity doesn’t face her new troubles alone. Along the way she manages to find herself a motley assortment of friends, as is the way in stories, including the food-loving, straight talking, logical Henry and the initially pompous new girl Martha. Together they help Verity to piece together the truth behind the stories she’s reading and her family’s history and destiny. Melanie Welsh creates a convincingly magical world. It is close enough to our own to be recognisable for its every day details and yet has a believable magical side to it too with the mysterious history of ‘the gentry’, the smuggling families, ship-wreckers and inventors. I liked that Henry is so scathing of any talk about magic or superstition. Verity is always feeling and sensing the mystery and magic behind things, utterly enraptured by the tales she reads within the book she got from the stranger on the shore whilst Henry blithely squashes them all with his logical thinking. Yet ultimately, even he is convinced that there can be no other explanation for the events that are unfolding.

Read the rest of my review for The Bookbag.

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