Saturday 5 June 2021

The Golden Tower

The Golden Tower by Belinda Murrell (Puffin Books) PB RRP $16.99  ISBN: 9781760897093

Reviewed by Jeffery E Doherty

The Golden Tower is a middle grade fantasy adventure by Belinda Murrell, one of Australia’s most respected children’s authors. Sophie travels from Australia to stay with her grandmother in England, but never in her wildest dreams could she imagine where she will end up.

While exploring the ruins of an ancient roman villa near her grandmother’s house, Sophie encounters a strange cat. She follows it through a hidden cleft in the rock, only emerge into Tuscia, a wonderous world of flying horses, magic, mystery and danger. She meets Isabella and Bia, discovering the terrible fate their stepmother has planned for them. With only the help of a stable boy and a talking cat, Sophie must discover if she is brave enough to try and save her new friends.

This story explores how a learning disorder can destroy a person’s confidence and self-esteem, and the struggle needed to overcome their disability. The story also draws upon the rich tapestry of Italian fairy tales and history of strong females from Renaissance Italy.

The Golden Tower blends history and fantasy to build a rich and magical setting. The cast of strong female characters will make this book a favourite for young girls, but there is enough action and adventure in these pages to win over male readers as well. The ending holds an unexpected twist and although all the clues were there, but it still came as a surprise to me.

This book is highly recommended.

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