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Synopsis: Clover Moon’s imagination is her best escape from a life of hardship in poverty-stricken Victorian London. When tragedy plunges her into a world of grief, Clover realises that everything she loved about the place she called home is gone. Clover hears of a place she could run to, but where will she find the courage – and the chance – to break free? And could leaving her family be just what she needs to find a place that really feels like home?

Me: I’ve never read a Jacqueline Wilson book before being about 30 years outside the age demographic so I’m not sure what her stories are usually like. Looking at the covers alone they look very much aimed at their demographic and look fluffy and frothy. So not usually my thing. I picked it from the netgalley books however as it’s set in one of to me the most fascinating eras of history – Victorian times.

It was a very pleasant surprise. It’s definitely not frothy. There’s death, scarlet fever, physical child abuse and poverty. Young Clover is often beaten by her step-mother; left scarred and bleeding. She’s locked in a cupboard in a way that makes Harry Potter looked spoilt. My 11 year old self would have loved it!

There are some happier parts. Clover has a knack with children; they flock to her and like the pied piper they will follow her everywhere and do as she asks. She’s such a charming little girl adults love her to (apart from the ugly step-mother). She builds a relationship with a local doll maker and it’s at his shop she meets the man that will help her turn her life around giving her the details of the refuge she eventually runs away to.

It’s a quick read being a children’s book. There are times when it will break your heart. You want her happy ending so much after all she goes through. It’s a rare occasion when I want to see a follow up book but I would actually like to see what happens next as Clover gets a job, I want to see if Thelma and her red boots have more than five minutes in the story and I want to see the wicked step-mother get her much needed comeuppance.

It’s harsh but heart warming, it’s ultimately uplifting and there’s a neat little history lesson at the end. If you want to try something different I’d highly recommend this. Full stars.

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