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Mistress of the Storm Hardcover – June 14, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Hardcover, June 14, 2011
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Editorial Reviews


Starred Review, School Library Journal, October, 2011:
Verity Gallant, 12, has always been the odd one out–the plain, dark-haired child overlooked in favor of her pretty, talented younger sister, Poppy. Her life changes dramatically after she receives an old book from an exotic stranger whom she sees in her local library. It tells the legends of the Mistress of the Storm, a being who commands obedience and terrifies all who cross her. Suddenly, the girls’ never-before-seen step-grandmother appears, taking over Verity’s room and taking an immediate dislike to the child. New friends Henry and Martha help Verity deal with the cruel woman and try to make sense of the stories she reads. As she begins to understand the many secrets about her family and the truths that are hidden in the book, she realizes that her life is in danger and that she needs to find strength and courage to save her parents and sister. An action-packed conclusion brings answers to many questions and offers a new beginning. Welsh has created a moving and gripping fantasy that will keep readers guessing and a cast of characters that moves beyond stereotypes and expectations, including a variety of helpful grown-ups. Verity is a sympathetic and engaging heroine, and readers will appreciate her friendships and relationship with Poppy, who becomes more sympathetic and supportive as the story evolves. Verity’s grandmother is a threatening, looming presence, and her meek parents add a touch of humor. Fantasy fans will enjoy discovering along with Verity that behind everyday small-town life is a world that offers hidden magic–and not-so-hidden danger.–Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI

About the Author

MELANIE WELSH spent her formative years in the sailing town of Cowes, on the Isle of Wight in England. The tightly-bound community, maritime history, and captivating landscapes were all sources of inspiration for the fictional town of Wellow in which The Mistress of the Storm is set.

Melanie now lives in Suffolk, near the seaside town of Southwold, with her husband Lucien and their two sons, Joe and Ben.  To learn more about the author and her work, please visit VerityGallant.co.uk.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: David Fickling Books (June 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038575244X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385752442
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,927,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Kate Coombs VINE VOICE on September 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Note to self: If someone knocks on the door and says she's your step-grandmother that you've never heard of before, RUN! At least, that's what Verity Gallant should have done...

Welsh's first book is about bullying, smugglers, friendship, really great nautical engineering, and a sort of wind goddess, not necessarily in that order. There are some key arrivals and departures here: an old woman named Alice who is Verity's friend departs, a mysterious ship arrives, Verity's grandfather departs (it's history, but she didn't know about it before), a new girl named Martha arrives, the peace and tranquility in Verity's home departs because her evil grandmother arrives, apparently causing her father's personality to depart... Oh, and a Preventative Man arrives. He's supposed to be catching smugglers, but he has his own secrets and hopes.

If you are anything like me, you will be incensed by how badly the kids at school treat Verity and even more incensed by how horribly her step-grandmother treats her. (One thing they tease her about is her weight, since she's a little chunky.)

Meanwhile, everyone wonders what that ship is doing in the harbor, and Verity learns a great deal about smugglers--especially her missing grandfather--even as her friendship with Henry and her ability to sail grow stronger.

It becomes clear that Grandmother wants to hurt Verity Gallant and maybe the rest of her family, too. M.L. Welsh is a dab hand at foreshadowing, and the tension in this book builds in a satisfying way.

One interesting aspect of Mistress of the Storm is that Verity gets her hands on a secret book which contains such true stories that they must be retold, or rather reenacted, in real life. Verity appears to be at the center of such a story--or is she?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to admit, while I wholeheartedly sympathized with Verity's social awkwardness and was very happy for her ending, I had a slightly different take on She of the Wind. She terrified me and said hateful things, of course, but her beauty and charisma still captivated me. Like her ex-husband Rafe Gallant, her sister Alice, and her slave Abednego, I both loved and hated her. She is definitely the most complex, most interesting character, switching moods by the paragraph.
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