Highly recommended for fantasy fans but also for anyone who just likes a compelling story. I read this while travelling in Malaysia. It felt pretty bizarre, in a kind of magical way, to be inside the water laden world of Esperance while I was surrounded by water, catching a Ferry from Langkawi to Penang. The main characters are well drawn and believable and easy to invest in. The very real human tension, angst and self-discovery solidifies the fantastic surroundings – dragons and all – and makes it feel very real.
I loved this book! Although targeted at the YA genre, I thoroughly enjoyed being transported to another place and time. I've never read a fantasy book before, and I was delighted by the experience. Elizabeth is such a beautiful writer and her imagination created the most magical setting and characters. I have a deep love for the ocean and this story truly inspired me. An eloquent writer with great talent, I was extremely impressed. I can't wait to read the next installment!!
Before starting this book, the reader is shown a charming map of a mysterious place named Esperance, capital of Aeolia, a map that hints at what’s to come. The story opens in our world, on the wedding of Esme’s father and her new stepmother, Penelope. Esme isn’t happy and she is unable to disguise it. She’s missing her mother, Ariane, who was lost at sea presumed dead. Esme is a lonely child, little liked by the villagers of Picton Island where her father is lighthouse keeper. An outsider, she wants nothing more than to find out what happened to her mum.
When Penelope’s sister, the despicable Mavis, moves in to mind Esme while her father has his honeymoon, Esme experiences strange headaches and dizzy spells. She has a vision of her mum and dad and is puzzled by it. Her anguish over her mother intensifies and she decides to take off to Spindrift Island where Ariane disappeared many years before. As her quest unfolds, Esme is swept unexpectedly into another world, the world of Esperance, where she makes new friends and continues her search.
What unfolds is a series of adventures large and small, of dragons and other mythical creatures, and of special magical gifts. To say more would spoil the enchantment.
Foster has a fluid, engaging narrative style. The writing is simply exquisite. The pacing, plot twists and characterisation are just perfect. Depictions of the city of Esperance are conveyed in vivid and captivating detail. The various threads and elements of the story are woven together beautifully, culminating in an ending filled with wonder and surprises.
This is a story of loss and searching, of ancient Greek myths, of the artistic temperament and supposed insanity, of minds capable of accessing the inner realms the rational mind cannot reach. Absorbing, enchanting, whimsical, Esme’s Wish is a story to lose yourself in. I would recommend this book to readers one and all. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Seven years after the disappearance of Esme's mother, Esme's father is ready to move on. The same can't be said about his daughter, Esme doesn't want him to marry someone else, but her objections are being ignored. When her father and his new wife leave Esme at home while going on honeymoon together, Esme decides to investigate the mysterious vanishing. Her search leads her to Aeolia, an enchanted world she accesses by accident. There Esme finds the first clues about her mother's actions before she was never seen again. Will she be able to get some much needed answers?
Esme stays in Esperance, a beautiful canal city plagued by earthquakes. Esme isn't well liked at home because of her mother, but here her mother was popular and Esme soon finds two allies. Daniel and Lillian are kind to Esme and they help her with her mission. Esme never expected to find such good friends. While getting to know more about Aeolia's history Esme discovers her mother had an entire life there, she only knew part of the woman she so admired. What was her mother hiding and why did she disappear?
Esme's Wish is a gripping magical story. Esme is a fantastic main character. She's smart, gentle and caring. She's never given up on her mother and her loyalty knows no bounds. I was incredibly curious about each truth she unravels. Esme is having a great adventure and I enjoyed every single moment of it. She's a resilient and determined girl and she constantly conquers her fears, which is something I admired about her. She's a fantastic main character and it was a joy to read her story. I really liked reading about her friendship with Lillian and Daniel, they have such a heartwarming bond, which for me was one of the best parts of the book.
Elizabeth Foster's writing has a nice easy flow. She has fabulous world building skills and I was impressed by her vivid descriptions of Aeolia and the mesmerizing way she writes about magic. Esme's Wish is filled with surprising twists and turns and I loved searching for clues together with the brave Esme. Esme's Wish is a terrific beginning of a series and I can't wait to read more about Esme and her friends. Elizabeth Foster completely enchanted me with her wonderful story and I look forward to the next one.
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
The story starts off with a wedding, but unfortunately for Esme it is not a happy one. Esme lost her mother when she was only eight years old and has never been able to move on. Esme never truly believed her mother had disappeared at sea and spurred on by her father moving on, she decides the time has come to go off on her own and discover the truth. What she soon discovers is another world full of magic, myth and secrets.
Back home Esme and her mother were always considered outsiders and as a child Esme struggled to find real friendship. On her journey Esme meets Daniel and Lillian, both offering friendship and whatever help they can. At first she finds it hard to believe that anyone would want to help her, let alone be her friend. She learns to trust in Daniel and Lillian as they join and help her on her journey.
The writing followed well, was easy to read and the story was steadily paced for the most part, kicking up with a action packed fast paced last few chapters. I raced through the last few chapters desperate to know how the story ends - and if that isn't a sign of a good story, then I don't know what is.
The bad 'guy' was deplorable and the good 'guys' easily likeable. The setting for the story, a mythological wonderland. There were Dragons - always a plus. And they rode them - even more of a plus!
The ending gives us just enough resolution for it to be satisfying, but also leaves enough unanswered that it makes you really want to read the next book.
Esme's Wish is the story of a teenage girl, Esme Silver, who has just witnessed her father getting remarried even though she does not believe her mother is dead. Following her feelings and some small could-be-clues, Esme makes her way to the last place she knows her mum, Ariane, was before her disappearance and discovers there is a whole other world waiting for her. Esme finds herself in Esperance, a city in a world called Aeolia, where many residents seem to know her mum. Over the course of the book, Esme finds out more about her mother and gradually realises she did not know as much about her mum or herself as she originally thought she did.
Esme is a is a strong character in that she does not give up just because something appears difficult. She is determined, resilient and independent but she also allows the people around her to help her when she needs support, something I think is great for the main character to do. The two friends Esme makes soon after arriving in Esperance and continues her journey with are Daniel and Lillian. These two educate Esme on life in Aeolia, it's history and the magic that has not been working right for many years. They both have stories of their own and both of them are interesting additions to the story.
The world in which the story takes, Aeolia, is somewhat simplistic but beautifully described. Not sure if it is what Foster had in mind, but I pictured Esperance as an ancient European style city with lots of light architecture standing out amongst the deep blue skies and waters. The only issue I had within the world were some of the creatures in it, specifically the dragons. When there is mention of dragons in a book I want a great dragon story or at least a cool dragon side-story, but they were mostly described as a transport with only a few hints at them being something more. I hope that the plot of book two will allow for more of the dragon story I was hoping for.
Speaking of the plot, it was, in my opinion, brilliant for a novel aimed at younger readers. Being 241 pages, I did not expect a whole lot to happen in the first book of the series, but Foster managed to pack it will quite a lot of story. There was a decent dash of fantasy elements, such as magical talent and mythical creatures, mixed up with the large mystery that surrounds Esme and her mother and those two elements mixed well together. There were no dull stretches as most of the major plot points overlapped with each other, but it was all rather realistically paced with the events making sense and occurring naturally.
I personally enjoyed the way this book was written - detailed but not overdone. Every element, whether it be the character, the world or the events taking place, were all written in a way that made them easy to picture without feeling like I was being smothered with descriptions. The writing felt natural and made the story feel more real. Despite Esme's Wish being targeted at younger readers, I, as a young woman in my twenties, thoroughly enjoyed the magic this story had to offer.
I thought this was a wonderful novel and I have only a minor complaint that I do not believe is worth deducting a star for. I cannot wait to see where Elizabeth Foster takes this series!
This is a lovely book about a young girl, Esme who’s mum had disappeared eight years ago. She never believed her mum died and wants to search for her, all those years her wish has been to have her mum back. Her father finally remarries a typical horrible stepmother and while he is off on his honeymoon, Esme learns of plans to change her life. So finally she takes the search for her beloved mum into her own hands. This book takes us to a beautiful place with idealistic islands, where you can breathe under water, see dragons flying and I just wanted to go there. I believed in this place and urged Esme on in her search for her mum. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I received this book for free and voluntarily reviewed it. It was a fantastic read.
Shattered by her mother's mysterious disappearance seven years prior, Esme is unable to move on. Her father's re-marriage is the last straw, especially when she finds out that her guardian during her father's honeymoon turns out to be the interfering older sister of her stepmother Penelope. Drawn by unanswered questions and a mysterious sea eagle Esme finds herself at Spindrift, the site of her mother's disappearance where she tumbles into a whole new world.
This novel has so many strengths it is hard to know where to start. I will resort to using headings.
The prose. Delightful. Here is but one example:
'She couldn't see the woman's face, but it didn't matter. There was a map of this person within her, one that she had folded and unfolded countless times. The fall of her hair, the slope of her shoulders, the shape of her was more than enough.'
The world building. The enchanted world of Aeolia is delightful, the city of Esperance reminiscent of Venice, with its canals, yet steeped in the lore of the sea. It is a city beneath the waves that is also above sea level, a land with its own magic which is waning, yet still indescribably unique.
'At the mention of 'Aron' the bag came to life. It quivered and puffed like a set of bellows, before stretching out to more than its original size. Esme watched the bag's contortions in awed silence. When it had stopped expanding, she fumbled with the drawstring and peered inside.'
The friendships In Aeolia, Esme meets Lilian, who longs to acquire the gift of singing songspells, and Daniel who wants to be a ranger and tame dragons. Initially at odds, Lilian and Daniel have past differences to overcome, while Esme in her turn must learn to trust and open up to her new friends.
The quest Like all good fantasy novels there is a quest. In Esme's case it is simple - to find her mother. But it soon becomes apparent that her mother's disappearance was far from simple. That it is, in some strange way, linked to the Aeolia's waning magic. Linked so strongly that Esme begins to doubt her mothers motives. What will her friends think if they find out the truth? Will she find the courage to face her fears?
Esme's Wish marks the beginning of a delightful new fantasy series for upper primary and lower secondary school readers. I thoroughly enjoyed my immersion in this world.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Esme was such a likable character and I got caught up in her search to uncover the truth about her mother's disappearance. There were plenty of twists and turns to keep me interested and the vivid fantasy world Esme unwittingly travels to was so well imagined I find it hard to believe Esprance is not a real place. I am looking forward to when the next book in the series is released so I can find out what adventure Esme and her new friends go on next.