Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Publication Date: 30th October 2017

Page Count: 252 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Esme’s Wish

‘Stay away from that Silver girl…’

Fifteen-year-old Esme Silver is devastated. With her father remarrying, and the grief of losing her mother still apparent seven years on, she is unsure where life will take her next. Back down to the village, where even her own family ostracise her? She hopes not. However, with her father and his not-so-pleasant wife off on their honeymoon, and having been told to ‘put it all behind her’, Esme plans to find answers once and for all. Did her mother really end up lost at sea? Is all as it seems? Having uncovered a doctor’s note about her mother’s headaches and talks of another world, she’s not quite sure anymore. But one thing is certain, and that is that Esme’s Wish will take you on a fantastical adventure.

Published in 2017 by Odyssey Books, Esme’s Wish is the debut novel of Australian writer Elizabeth Foster. Full of adventure and mystery, Foster is able to weave both wonderfully descriptive scenery and a worthwhile plot, where realisation is at its heart.

Esme is a strong character, whose story is powerful. And through Foster’s effortless writing we are able to see a continuous flicking between her bravery when it comes to finding the truth and her vulnerabilities / self-doubt. Although set in a magical world, she remains very much relatable and inspiring.

Similar to other reviewers, I completely agree that this book is suitable for Middle Grade+ readers, who love themes of magic and discovery. Although the ideas of loss and grief are explored, as well as talks of mental health, all are tackled in a way suitable for younger audiences. I very much enjoyed how the author dealt with such themes.

Esme’s Wish is well worth the read, especially for those who love Percy Jackson and the Chronicles of Narnia! It is truly enchanting.

About the author

‘I read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago. Reading to my own kids reminded me of how much I missed getting lost in other worlds. It’s never too late to find and follow your passion! I live in Sydney, where I can be found running (just kidding – walking) by the water, or scribbling in cafés, indulging my love of both words and coffee. Esme’s Wish is my debut novel and the sequel, Esme’s Gift is due out in November 2019.’

Esme’s Wish recently won first place in the fantasy category of the 2018 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, which recognises excellence in children’s literature.

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