The Muses: Escaping Montague Manor

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The Muses Escaping Montague Manor/ / is a tale of adventure with two young protagonists; Sarah age ten and Nickolas age twelve. When their parents are in a near-fatal car accident, they move in with their grandmother, Vera. Unfortunately for them, another claim for their guardianship is upheld by the legal system, and they have to travel to Australia to live with Great Aunt Vivian, whom they didn’t even know existed. Soon, strange little things happen: items disappear, sleep overcomes them just when they need to be most awake, disciple and rules seem straight out of the nineteenth century, and their activities are limited until they find themselves with no way to contact anyone and no idea of where they are or how to leave. Magic now enters the book, not supernatural magic–not yet, anyway–but a wonderful magic of two children who know how to observe and gather facts, work at difficult tasks, and determine a plan of action that requires daily follow-through.

Nickolas has mastered an older rite of passage: the making of a radio, and he actually has a working knowledge of Morse code. They contact the outside, but realize they are on their own. It is only then that they stumble on a way to get help from enchanted Muses. The Muses give them help because of their efforts and to free themselves from their own enchantment. The Muses add layers of ability to the children, but it is really the determination and bravery of Sarah and Nickolas that affect the resolution of the situation.

The delightful part of the book is the character of the protagonists and, to a lesser degree, the Muses. The action moves along quickly, the plans and dangers seem plausible; the children are believable and extraordinary at the same time, and they don’t appear to have supernatural abilities. They are great role models, the kind of characters that make one want to stretch a little higher in difficult circumstances and never give up. The villains are also developed as the story progresses, and there are several characters that are neither all bad nor all good; the children have to judge and work out who, and how much, to trust them by themselves. The humor and personalities of the Muses are a nice addition; the magic they use has limitations, they, themselves, are obviously vulnerable to the forces arrayed against the children also. Altogether, this is a great book for twelve-year-olds, especially with Sarah and Nickolas as examples.

Notes to the Author

Congratulations! You have developed some characters that are sympathetic because they are good, hard-working, and intelligent; as opposed to spoiled whiny and lazy. It is a refreshing change. I also like that, although magic is involved, it is only used to solve some of the intractable problems, not an end in and of itself. For the target age, this is a great book. I will recommend it to my very discerning children and grandchildren.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 315 pages
Publisher N. L. McEvoy
Publish Date 29-Sep-2014
ISBN Buy this Book
Issue June 2015
Category Young Adult


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