Esme’s Wish is the debut novel and first in a series by Australian author Elizabeth Foster.
Esme’s mother had disappeared seven years ago, thought to have been lost at sea. Her father is now remarrying but Esme doesn’t believe the ‘lost at sea’ claim and while her father is away on his honeymoon she plans to do some investigating of her own. While searching for clues about her mother’s disappearance Esme finds a doctor’s note about her mother’s headaches, delusions and talk of other worlds. Was her mother ill and nobody told her?
After following an eagle down to the beach Esme notices a lustrous shell in a rock pool but as she reaches for the shell she is pulled into the pool and plummeted down into its depths. When she surfaces she is in another world. She is befriended by Daniel and this is where Esme’s real journey begins. As Esme tries to uncover what happened to her mother more mysteries are revealed that will have a lasting effect on Esperance and its people.
Foster’s writing is beautifully descriptive and flows effortlessly. Esme has a strong personality thriving in seclusion after being shunned by most of the town folk. She soon becomes firm friends with Daniel and Lillian and learns to trust and rely on others. I liked that the three teens could be friends without a love triangle in sight.
I loved the town of Esperance with its watery canals, gondolas and bridges which reminded me of Venice. The world of Aeolia is tied to the Gods and frequent mentions of Greek Gods through statues and paintings gives scope for additional research.
The magical element was enchanting; my favourite being Akitsu’s shop with its enchanted paper fish, birds, beetles and butterflies all so delightfully imagined and brought to life on paper.
The story wraps up well, however also leaves on opening for the sequel Esme’s Gift.
Recommended for readers 10+ years Content: battle with a spectre
Aside from the (very brief) evil stepmother stuff at the beginning, this story is full of fascinating and engaging turns. Loved the enchantedworld that Esme enters, the friends she makes, and the twists and loops of the plot. Can’t wait to read the next in the series.