Eleven year old orphan Quil, short for Jonquil, finds an old mug with her name 'Jonquil' on it. After years of seeing mugs in shops with all the regular names on them but never hers she is intrigued. Where did it come from? There's a clue on the bottom of the mug - Hoopers Bend Gallery - and when she is on the train on her way to camp that clue leads her to impulsively get off the train at Hoopers Bend station. She meets up with Bailey who owns the shop at Hoopers Bend and the little but feisty dog, Pirate, and Quil convinces Bailey to let her stay to help out with things. Both Bailey and Quil are grieving in their own way and they are both balm to each other's soul at a time when they both need it. And while Quil is staying at Hoopers Bend she is determined to find out the mystery of the mug that bears her name and she uncovers a number of other surprises along the way.
While there are some really good moments in this book there are also too many coincidences that weren't properly set up in the story. It's okay to have some coincidences in a story but too many and the story gets very unbelievable. If, at the end of the book, some of them had been explained as not being coincidences at all but due to circumstances unforeseen by the reader but planned for by the author then I could accept them but they remained coincidences. And I don't buy that the word 'magic' covers it. Like all other story elements, magic actually has to make sense in a story and a coincidence remains a coincidence whether magic is involved or not.
And my biggest failure of suspension of belief is that sensible Bailey would take an 11 year old girl to stay in her home without actually contacting and speaking to her parents, or in Quil's case her aunt, and checking with them about what should be done. Quil even lies about her age and says she is a small-for-her-age 13 year old but that's no better - no right minded adult would take the word of an 11 year old OR a 13 year old that it was okay for her to stay in a stranger's house. It just screams child abduction charges.
For the most part this is a good book but the many coincidences and Quil staying with Bailey just stretched things that little bit too far for me.
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins - AU (24 July 2017)
- ISBN-10: 1460753666
- ISBN-13: 978-1460753668
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 181 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
73,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #26889 in Children's Books