Rose is the enchanting first story in a series about a girl named for the rose that was blooming in the orphanage garden the day she arrived. It starts with Rose at St. Bridget’s on a normal Sunday, when she starts to tell her friend, and fellow orphan, Maisie a story about how she came to be at the orphanage. Except, this time, they can see pictures related to Rose’s story forming in reflective surfaces as she tells it. But something even more exciting is about to happen! Miss Bridges, the housekeeper for famous alchemist Mr. Fountain, is looking to hire a housemaid – and she chooses Rose!
Rose finds herself loving her new job, no matter how difficult the work is or how many tantrums Mr. Fountain’s daughter, Isabella throws, but what she hates is how no one else seems to see the walls move or feel the stairs moving beneath their feet, nor can they talk to the household cat, like she does. She doesn’t want to be anything more than a housemaid and independent, but it seems like she may have magic flowing through her veins and she just wants it to go away – especially when it alienates her from fellow servant Bill. Then she learns her friend Maisie has been kidnapped, and her magic, as well as joining forces with Mr. Fountain’s young apprentice, Freddie, along with Mr. Fountain’s spoiled daughter Isabella and the household cat, Gus, is the only way she can save Maisie and the other missing children.
I found this story, set in the Victorian era, to be very intriguing and enjoyable. The characters were interesting, and the world well thought out. However, once the mystery (and potential suspect) were properly introduced, I was able to guess at most of the ending. What I did not expect was what was being done with the children after they were kidnapped. Warning: if you (or your children) are squeamish when it comes to blood, and/or someone injuring and/or potentially killing young children (between the ages of 7 and 14, I believe), you might think about choosing something else. Holly Webb doesn’t go into great detail, but it may still be upsetting for younger readers.
You can read the rest of my review at my blog: http://readerlymusings.com/2013/10/02/book-review-rose-by-holly-webb/