Rose and the Lost Princessby Holly Webb
In this second volume, the spunky young magician Rose returns to battle the forces of darkness and save the country's beloved Princess. Set in 19th century England, this
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Holly Webb's hit middle-grade fantasy series are the perfect books for 11 and 12 year-old girls beginning to realize their own power and potential-and who might just still believe in magic...
In this second volume, the spunky young magician Rose returns to battle the forces of darkness and save the country's beloved Princess. Set in 19th century England, this magical adventure offers a rich sense of history and a strong, independent heroine young readers can really root for. Rose is perfect for "fans of princesses, magic, fantasy, and mystery" (School Library Journal).
Not all magic is used for good... Rose's whole life has changed in a matter of weeks. Once a lonely orphan, now she's an apprentice to the King's chief magician! But as Rose's magical abilities blossom, she's still uneasy about her new powers-and learns the hard way that power often comes at a price.
When the Princess vanishes, rumors of dark magic fly through the city, casting doubt and suspicion on everyone with magical powers. Even Rose's friends don't seem to trust her anymore.
Now Rose must find the missing girl. Can she shatter the power of an evil magician before all is lost?
Praise for Rose:
"Magic, mystery, adventure, and friendship-this book has it all."-Books for Kids
"One of those pure unqualified delights that I dearly hope folks will read."-A Fuse 8 Production
Gr 4–6—Set in 19th century England, in a world full of magicians, Rose is an orphan working as a servant/magician's apprentice to Mr. Aloysius Fountain, the king's magician and close advisor. When the king's daughter, Jade, almost gets kidnapped, magic is suspected and Mr. Fountain and his household, along with the town's magicians, are all suspects. At the same time, a horrible winter sets in and Jade disappears a second time, this time without a trace. Enlisted to help her master solve the case, Rose discovers that her life and the lives of many others are in great danger if Jade isn't found. Can Rose and Mr. Fountain solve the case in time? The characters in this book are likable and entertaining while the plot is well-developed. The smooth transitions from chapter to chapter, the suspense, and tension of the story easily draw the reader into Rose's unique world and keep them wanting to know what will happen next. Fans of princesses, magic, fantasy, and mystery will not be disappointed with this sequel.—Kira Moody, Whitmore Public Library, Salt Lake City, UT
Rose, an orphan who works as a housemaid while studying magic, helps save a princess from an evil magician. Rose's secret, which is that she has magical powers, is out. Now that she's a magician's apprentice as well as a housemaid, her status among the other servants is in jeopardy, as they view magic and magical people with suspicion even though they are employed by Mr. Aloysius Fountain, a powerful magician in the royal court. Fact is, it's a bad time for magicians in the city of London. Princess Jane, the darling of king and country, briefly disappeared, and magicians are suspected in the so-called attempted kidnapping, causing anti-magician prejudice to skyrocket. Nonetheless, Rose is secretly called in to help the king along with fellow apprentice Freddie and Gus, Mr. Fountain's smart-talking cat, a potent magician in his own right. The adventure that follows is amusing but fuzzy, as the nature of the characters' magical powers is not clear, so the final battle has an arbitrary feel. Where Webb shines is in her depiction of the gradations of status and power both up- and downstairs and how these positions shape perception, action and character. Enjoyable magical adventure enlivened by an engaging group of secondary characters from all backgrounds and realms. (Fantasy. 8-12)
Read an Excerpt
Enjoying the quiet, Rose leaned against the window, staring out at the last few browning leaves of the wisteria that climbed up the wall and feeling the smooth chill of the glass against her cheek.
She jumped as a soft, insistent white head butted against her arm, and Gus squirmed into her lap, kneading her apron to the right consistency with determined paws.
"It's getting colder," he remarked, settling down at last. "I can smell snow."
Rose blinked at him, surprised. "Do you think so? It's only October. Isn't it a bit early for snow?"
Gus wriggled onto his back and yawned, showing a bright pink tongue and shark-like teeth. His stomach was round and soft and tufty, framed by delicately hanging paws. Rose was tempted to stroke it but suspected that Gus might claw her for being overly familiar.
"You can if you like," he purred, opening his orange eye for a moment. "I'm in a tolerant mood."
Rose stroked one of the velvet paws with the back of her hand instead and sighed.
"What's the matter?" Gus asked, opening the blue eye this time, just for a second.
"Just tired..." Rose murmured.
Gus sniffed irritably and opened both eyes to glare at her. "Well, it's entirely your own fault for being so ridiculously stubborn. Why you persist in working as a housemaid and trying to be a magician's apprentice at the same time is completely beyond me. You have to choose one or the other."
Rose didn't answer. He'd said it several times, and today she felt weary enough to wonder if he was actually right. He quite often was, having a cat's natural cunning coupled with a hefty dollop of magic. But it still seemed odd, being advised by a cat.
"You see! I was right," Gus mewed triumphantly, now standing on her lap with his front paws resting against the glass.
Rose, who had been staring out the window but not actually looking, shook herself and gazed out at the trees in the square's garden. The color had bled out of the sky, and fat white snowflakes were swirling slowly down.
"It's snowing!" Freddie burst into the room, flinging the door open with a bang. "Do you see? Really snowing. And it's cold enough to stick."
Rose looked at him in surprise. His dark eyes were glittering with excitement, and his cheeks were flushed, as though he'd raced up the stairs. It was only snow, and Rose didn't think she liked it all that much. It was beautiful but somehow menacing too-the falling flakes had a horrid inevitability about them, as though they would keep falling whatever happened and smother anything that tried to stop them. Rose shook herself crossly. This was nonsense. It was snow. Just weather.
"Aren't you pleased?" Freddie asked her, frowning slightly. "It's snowing!" The frown disappeared as he said the word, as if he couldn't mention snow without grinning.
Rose watched him dubiously as he pressed his palms against the window, gazing hungrily out at the dancing feathers of snow. Why was he so excited? It snowed every year, as far as she knew. For an orphanage brat, snow didn't mean treats. It just meant that your dormitory was so cold you climbed into bed with the girls next to you, so you could shiver together. And the washing water froze. When the orphans walked to church in snow, no one threw snowballs; they just got wet feet, as the dirty slush seeped through their patched boots. She supposed this was the difference. For Freddie, snow probably meant snow fights and sledding and riding out to the country to skate on a beautiful frozen lake. He probably came home and had cocoa afterward too.
"It looks very cold," Rose told him rather primly, and he shook his head.
"Honestly, Rose, you really are the most dreadful wet blanket," Freddie murmured dismissively as he watched the snowflakes, unable to tear himself away.
Rose smiled. Sometimes it annoyed her that Freddie had no idea how lucky he was, how privileged. But it wasn't actually his fault. He just happened to have been born that way-to a family with a long history of magic. And money. Just as she happened to have been born to a family so poor they couldn't keep her. Or maybe not a family-she didn't know. Perhaps just a girl on her own, a girl who'd found an old fish basket somewhere and used it to shelter the baby she was abandoning in the churchyard.
When she wasn't exhausted, Rose felt privileged too. She had been taken away from the orphanage at a far younger age than most the girls, to be trained as a housemaid in the London residence of Mr. Aloysius Fountain, Chief Magical Counselor to the Treasury. Rose loved it. She had dreamed of this-a proper job, no more charity, but actually earning her own living. Then she had discovered that she was a little bit magical too, and everything had changed all over again.
It seemed odd that two people with such different childhoods should end up as apprentices together. Rose wasn't on the same social scale as Freddie, of course. Most probably she never would be. But she was better at a lot of the magic than he was. That was hard to believe too. It almost certainly meant that at least one of her unknown parents had been a magician. Since Mr. Fountain had gently pointed this out in their first magic lesson, Rose had thought about her parents far more than she ever had before. She knew something about them now-or one of them, at least. Before, all she'd known was a possible connection with fish. Having inherited her magic was far more interesting than having inherited fish.
She had never daydreamed about her parents back at the orphanage, as so many of her friends did. No, far better to rely on herself, as she always had. She shouldn't waste time wondering; she would never know the answers anyway. Unless she could divine them somehow, of course. One of her new powers was making strange pictures appear on shiny surfaces. Some of the images were true, and some were...Rose wasn't quite sure what. Perhaps they all had some sort of truth in them, or they wouldn't come to her.
Could she see her parents? If she tried hard enough, found the right place to look? Did she even want to? Rose wasn't sure she wanted to know why they'd left her on the war memorial. What if they just hadn't liked her very much? Or something awful had happened to them?
But the more Rose found out about her own magic, the more intriguing her family history was becoming. Left alone in Mr. Fountain's workroom, she'd found herself staring at mirrors, silver bowls, that strange mother-of-pearl sheet...She knew she could see in all of them if she could only bring herself to try.
"I wish he'd hurry up. I want to go out before it gets dark. Where is he, Rose? Do you know? Rose!" Freddie's voice grew sharp, and Rose turned away from the mesmerizing snowflakes with a guilty start.
"Where is Mr. Fountain?" Freddie demanded impatiently. "It's twenty minutes past three. What's he doing? Come on, Rose, down in the kitchens you know everything! Where is he?"
"He had a lunch guest, someone from the palace. Miss Bridges was panicking, and me and Bill had to polish all the silver yesterday. She checked. Even the bits we never use, like that strange cup with the mustache on it." Rose sounded disgruntled. Bill, the apprentice footman who did all the odd jobs around the house, had confided to her on her first day that although they were supposed to polish all the silver every week, he never did, except on very special occasions. Visitors from the palace, even if not actually royalty themselves, clearly had to be treated like royalty, and that meant everything needed to be shiny.
Freddie looked thoughtful. "I wonder who it is. My cousin Raphael is an equerry at the palace, so I know some of the staff."
Rose gazed at him wide-eyed. "Your cousin works for the king? What's an equerry?"
Freddie sniffed. "An odd-job man, judging by Raphael. But he's a bit of an idiot. In a dream world all the time, and he isn't even a magician. He's from my mother's side of the family."
Rose couldn't help giggling. Someone that Freddie thought was stupid would have to be monumentally silly. Freddie fell down flights of stairs on purpose to see if he could fly. (He had, almost, but it was still a stupid thing to do. He said it was in the spirit of scientific inquiry and scientists had to be willing to take risks. Rose just thought he was bacon brained.) But Freddie had raised an interesting point.
"So, your mother's not a magician, then?" she asked curiously. "Only your father?"
"Yes." Freddie smiled. "But Mama loves magic. My father courted her by making roses grow out of the carpet of my grandparents' drawing room, and she accepted his proposal on the spot. Not that she might have turned him down," he hastened to add. "Papa has very handsome side whiskers."
Rose couldn't stop laughing. She imagined Freddie's father rather like Freddie, smooth and small and blond, but with luxuriant muttonchop whiskers.
"Stop it, Rose! I can hear Fountain coming." Freddie frowned at her, still giggling in the window seat, and shook his head disgustedly.
Rose sat up and tried to take deep breaths, but the image of a furry Freddie wouldn't go away. At last, the turning of the door handle distracted her enough, and she jumped up excitedly. She adored their magic lessons, however tired she was, and Mr. Fountain had promised to teach Freddie and Rose a real spell today. Rose dug her fingernails into her palms. She wanted to be as calm and collected as Freddie, who'd rather be out throwing snowballs than learning magic, but she could hardly stand still. She could smell Mr. Fountain, she suddenly realized, as the door opened. A mixture of cigar smoke, very dear eau de cologne, and an added tang of powerful, lethal, wonderful magic...
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Meet the Author
Holly Webb is a bestselling author of over 80 books and was born and raised in southeast London. The Rose series stems from a childhood love of historical novels and the wish that animals really could talk. Before deciding to become a writer, she worked for five years as a children's fiction editor. She lives in Reading with her husband and three small children.
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