by Jaclyn Moriarty
Series: The Colors of Madeleine #1
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
The first in a rousing, funny, genre-busting trilogy from bestseller Jaclyn Moriarty! This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world). Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot's dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth. As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds -- through an accidental gap that hasn't appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called "color storms;" a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the "Butterfly Child," whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses..
A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty is the first book in an exciting new series called The Colors of Madeleine. The tale offers a delightful mix of contemporary and fantasy filled with endearing and unique characters. Split between the Kingdom of Cello and modern-day Cambridge the tale began slowly but I soon found myself captivated as the author transported me into Madeleine and Elliot’s worlds. If I had to describe the book using three words I would say; Magical, Unique and Enchanting. I can already imagine the movie I just need Tim Burton to produce it.
Madeleine lives in “our world” in Cambridge with her mom and on a windy afternoon, she spies something white wedged in a broken parking meter. She pulls on it and twists and digs her fingernail between the cracks of the meter to reveal a note. It says, “Help me, I am being held against my will!” Madeleine finds this funny, after all it’s not as if someone is trapped in the meter! She decides to write back. Elliot lives in Bonfire a farming town in the Kingdom of Cello; a parallel world to ours. There he discovers a note in an old broken TV converted to art near the town square. The tale that unfolds divides its time between both worlds introducing us to two whimsical and lovable characters and the worlds they live in.
Madeleine is such a unique, quirky, and imaginative character. Madeleine ran away from home and her mother went with her. They left a world of travel, cakes, and iPods and now live in a tiny flat in Cambridge, England and eat way too many beans. She loves to read and finds history fascinating She is homeschooled with two other children; Jack and Bella. A strange group of characters made up their tutors and the lessons were rather curious. Madeleine dresses in color from her head to her toes and sees the world differently than those around her. She questions everything and I adored her. Elliot’s father disappeared on the night the Purples killed his uncle. He spends a lot of time traveling throughout the kingdom searching for his Dad. He is anxious to set out again to the Lake of Spells to catch a locator spell but family and the town keep him from leaving. Elliot is well liked by both the adults and children of Bonfire and they often look to him to solve problems. I found him loyal, protective, determined and brave. The budding friendship between Madeleine and Elliot began as humorous and developed into something deeper. They both have love interests and confide in each other. The citizens and princesses of the kingdom added to the tale and their newspaper correspondence was hilarious. The characters were beautifully developed and we see growth throughout this first tale. I enjoyed the secondary characters like Jack who believes in reincarnated and Bella who claims to read auras.
At its core, A Corner of White is about friendship and how two people from seemly different worlds can find common ground and issues. The world-building was fascinating, and the Kingdom of Cello felt original and fresh. We get a good sense of how the two worlds divided, and a history of Cello since the separation through the letter exchanges. The works of Isaac Newton, Byron and more influence our characters and aid them. Moriarty gave me a panoramic view of Elliot’s world and the descriptions were vivid from the colors to the game of deft ball. She laid out the kingdom for us through Elliot and her descriptive writing helped immerse me into his world. Colors and the role they played in both worlds was fascinating as the author brought them to life. The Butterfly Child was positively wonderful and I loved this Kingdom lore. While I still have questions, the world-building was solid and a foundation has been laid. Madeleine’s world is familiar to us as the author brings the sights, smells, and colors to life thorough Madeleine’s creative eye. Her world is more character driven and Elliot’s is more world-building and incredibly the author developed them both. We travel back and forth between Elliot’s and Madeleine’s worlds and for the most part, I found the transition to move smoothly. A few times I resented leaving one world as the tale had me captivated, but I quickly became equally absorbed into the other. The interaction between them was hilarious, and as their friendship grew we began to see compassion, understanding and serious conversations. Suspenseful threads, character obstacles, and mystery are woven into the tale, making our visits to each world enthralling. The ending closes these threads and opens a few others. I love that we have a strong sense of where the next tale is taking us and I cannot wait to go.
Fans of fantasy will love A Corner of White with its magical world and colorful characters. From the parallel worlds to the engaging plot its a place you won’t forget with characters who will make you smile. At this time there is no information on the second book but this reader cannot wait.
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