After a wonderful summer of sailing, Verity Gallant just wants life to stay the same forever. But as she should know by now, not everything in life turns out as we would like. The land is shifting beneath the ancient harbour town of Wellow, causing mysterious caves to appear in cliff faces, terrifying rock falls, and dangerous landslides. And the earth isn't the only thing crumbling . . . Verity is thrilled that Jeb has returned, but their ...
After a wonderful summer of sailing, Verity Gallant just wants life to stay the same forever. But as she should know by now, not everything in life turns out as we would like. The land is shifting beneath the ancient harbour town of Wellow, causing mysterious caves to appear in cliff faces, terrifying rock falls, and dangerous landslides. And the earth isn't the only thing crumbling . . . Verity is thrilled that Jeb has returned, but their feelings for each other threaten her friendship with Henry and Martha.
Verity and her friends are embroiled in a tale of evil, intrigue, and lost love, as a powerful force works its way towards Wellow, hell-bent on putting an end to all happiness. The Heart of Stone is the key, and the race is on to find it.
Gr 5–9—After vanquishing one of four powerful witch sisters who control the world's essential elements in Mistress of the Storm (Random, 2011), Verity Gallant and her friends have enjoyed an idyllic summer in their cliffside hometown of Wellow. Strange events soon shatter the peace, however: the earth is eroding away beneath their feet, causing hazardous conditions, and insidious white sand suddenly seems to be covering everything. It soon becomes apparent that these are the machinations of the Earth Witch, turned to stone and smashed into millions of pieces long ago by the cruel-hearted Wind Witch, and now determined to re-form into a vengeful whole and wipe out every "happy-ever-after" along the way. Relying once again upon hard work (including library research and brilliant code-cracking), danger-fraught investigations, and hard-earned insights, Verity and her compatriots must put together the pieces of a twist-turning mystery and try to stop this formidable new enemy. Built upon a bulwark of intricately wrought backstory and mythology, this satisfying fantasy combines fast-paced adventure with slow-brewing suspense that is both spine-tingling and delightfully unsettling. The characters are multidimensional, with heroes who experience moments of jealousy or selfishness, and villains capable of remorse. Enhanced by funny banter and believable emotions, Verity's relationships with her peers-including a budding romance-are deftly drawn, as are her own insecurities and revelations. Reading the first book first is not necessary, but those who have will better appreciate this well-written and richly imagined offering.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
- Shirley Nelson
Verity Gallant and her best friend Henry Twogood are enjoying one last sail on Poor Honesty before the beginning of the school term. In their exploration, they realize that a hole has formed in the cliff where the wishing well once was. It had been filled in because of the bad magic, but a dangerous pothole has formed and the sea caves are more dangerous than before. Coupled with the swirling white sand that seems to be invading the village, Verity believes these occurrences are connected to the Keepers of the Elements. In a previous adventure Verity and Henry fought against the sisters who control the elements and it appears they will need to do so again. As the town is slowly buried in sand, they realize that a strange new teacher is involved. The ancient legends are proving to be true. Verity and her friends find themselves in grave danger on multiple occasions as they fight to prevent the Earth Witch from regaining her heart and destroying the world. Young love is the secret tool that breaks the curse of the Earth Witch. Yet young love also creates a wedge between Verity and her closest friends. Companion novel to Mistress of the Storm. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
- Max Fitzgerald
This book is a good addition to the series, though not as good as the first one. It is well written with an interesting storyline that, while not as mysterious as the first book, is engaging and keeps readers entertained. Reviewer: Max Fitzgerald, Teen Reviewer
- Rochelle Garfinkel
This companion novel to Mistress Of The Storm (David Fickling, 2010/Voya June 2011) tells the story of heroine Verity Gallant's fight against an evil force determined to put an end to all happily-ever-after stories. Verity and her two friends are wholly likable characters, joined by a cast of many secondary characters who embody both good and evil. The town library and librarian both play a major role in the story. In fact, the secret "worldwide librarian association" is connected by a pneumatic tube messaging system—extremely advanced for the setting of the story. The evil force appears to be trying to destroy Verity's cliffside hometown of Wellow, which is rapidly being eroded by white sand gathering as if it had a single motive—to erase all the "Original Stories" with happy endings. Welsh's characters are both appealing and disturbing in turn. The children are well-developed and likable, each for their own personality. A budding romance will satisfy many young readers but will not turn off those who are not looking for romance. This is a fast-moving story for any fantasy fan, and even though the characters are young and the plot quite simple, it will be enjoyed by older readers as well. Due to the setting and language, there may be enough British terms to confuse very young readers, but others will likely be unhindered by them. Readers will be better informed by reading Welsh's debut novel first, but Heart Of Stone can also stand on its own. Reviewer: Rochelle Garfinkel
When Verity and her friends destroyed the Mistress (Mistress of the Storm, 2011), they thought peace had been restored. However, the sands are sifting. The Mistress, they discover, was as merciless to her own family as to humans. Providing the background, Welsh inserts a tale of love and deception as compelling as any fairy tale: Jealous of her sister's devoted lover, the Mistress had tricked and crushed the Earth Witch, hiding her heart and thus keeping her scattered. With the Mistress gone, the Earth Witch is gathering her millions of pieces, bent on unleashing her revenge on all. The descriptions of the hissing, invasive sand are eerie. The Earth Witch is attempting to scrub out all the happy stories stored under the library in a secret room. They, in particular, librarian Miss Cameron explains, "keep things as we know them to be." If the premise is a bit weak, the action is not. Verity is threatened by a deranged teacher—the Earth Witch's servant—as the two race to find the Earth Witch's heart. As before, the setting is well-drawn, and Verity's loyal friends, including her romantic interest, are by her side, providing easy banter even as the situation becomes dire. With a final plot twist as shattering as an earthquake, the Earth Witch's story comes to its tragic conclusion. A story sure to grip readers by the heart. (Fantasy. 8-12)
M. L. WELSH spent her formative years in the sailing town of Cowes, on the Isle of Wight. The tightly bound community, maritime history, and captivating landscapes of the southern island were all sources of inspiration for the fictional town of Wellow in which Mistress of the Storm and Heart of Stone are set. Melanie lives in Suffolk, near the seaside town of Southwold, with her husband Lucien and their two sons, Joe and Ben.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit VerityGallant.co.uk.