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The Bloomswell Diaries Hardcover – March 1, 2011

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The Blackthorn Key
The Blackthorn Key
In his stunning debut novel, Kevin Sands brings readers on a heart-stopping adventure rich with suspense, mystery, and unforgettable characters. Hardcover | Kindle book

Editorial Reviews

Benjamin Bloomswell is pleased to be staying with his uncle in America while his parents are off on another business trip. It's like a vacation. But when a series of newspaper articles, telephone calls and mysterious disappearances result in his being sent to - and having to escape from - a sinister orphanage and the criminals who run it, he knows he's somehow got to find a way back to Europe. He has to get to his sister's boarding school before anyone else does. And somehow, he has to find his parents, who are also in trouble. But how...

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Series: Chapter Books
  • Hardcover: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Kane/Miller Book Publishers (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935279823
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935279822
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,420,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte on March 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Young Ben Bloomswell is used to his parents going off on business of their own; they always come back. But this time is different. This time, they've taken him from England to stay with his uncle in New York, while his sister is sent to a boarding school in Switzerland, part of his parents' plan to keep them safe.

And this time, his parents might not be coming back for him. A newspaper article claims they're dead. His uncle warns him that his parents have made powerful and ruthless enemies--men who would love to have young Ben as a hostage. But his uncle proves powerless to keep him safe, and disappears under mysterious circumstances.

With evil men who's motives he doesn't understand at all pursuing him, Ben sets off on his own to try to get back to Europe--first to find his sister, and then to find his parents. But to get there, he'll have to escape from the kidnappers who have imprisoned him in an most unpleasant orphanage, become a stowaway on board a ship (carrying very unusual passengers indeed) and face an army of metal automatons....all the while not knowing who to trust, and desperately seeking the answers to his questions about his parents--what have they been doing, to acquire such fearsome enemies, and more importantly, where are they now?

The Bloomswell Diaries is a very nice take indeed on the Child Fleeing from Mysterious Bad Guys story, and I enjoyed it lots. The pacing was just right--lots of action, as the story moved from adventure to adventure, but the action wasn't overwhelmingly non-stop. I enjoyed Buitendag's writing, and liked Ben, the main character, very much!

My one complaint concerns the metal automatons. I have nothing against them, per se, and, in general, like the added interest they can bring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Madigan McGillicuddy on November 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a fast-paced action/chase/adventure written with plenty of of boy appeal. There's a bit of mystery as Benjamin Bloomswell is left with his uncle while his parents are on a business trip. Soon, he's shocked to discover that his parents are being reported dead in the newspapers. As he makes his escape from an orphanage in order to reunite with his sister, he's forced to stowaway on a ship headed from New York to Europe.

The story didn't feel as steampunkish as I expected. Except for the rarely seen mechanical clockwork men there aren't very many sci-fi'ish touches. Benjamin hides inside one when he's smuggling himself across international borders. This is a solidly middle-grade level read - there's not even a hint of romance, and the main part of the story focuses on the mystery of what's happened to Benjamin's parents. There's an almost dreamlike sense behind the chase scenes, as Benjamin escapes from one pursuer, only to have to stay one step ahead of another generic bad guy.

While this is an American-published book, it has the feeling of having been translated - it feels just a touch alien, which is not at all a bad thing. Fans of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, or The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood, who are looking for more stories of plucky, determined orphans fighting against conspiracies and impossible odds will enjoy The Bloomswell Diaries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Graham S. Coppin on March 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Mr Buitendag has written a ripping good yarn that will appeal to the 10 year old in each of us! I can think of no higher praise than this: I'm going to buy a copy for my nephews when I visit them next month and I'm telling all my friends with kids to buy this book. There are twists and turns aplenty which kept me gasping and turning the page. The writing is gorgeous; Mr Buitendag knows how to set the mood wherever Ben (our hero) finds himself. What a great book and I can't wait for the follow-up to see what happens!
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By John Schreiner on February 25, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Loved it!!! Great young adult novel. Can't wait for the next book!
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