I had heard about this book several months ago, and was intrigued because it reminded me of books by Eva Ibbotson, sadly no longer with us. There were some elements that were similar – the intrepid orphan who enchants adults and faces the direst situations with courage and integrity. However, Eleonora, while plucky, never won my heart the way an Ibbotson heroine does. Her sorrow was too bleak and while I pitied her, I yearned for some hint her life would get better (instead, she was deluged with political paperwork to wade through and analyze like an overburdened lawyer doing document review) and it was hard to care about her. Ultimately, while original and very readable, I felt the book lacked the dimension that would transform it into the type of juvenile classic that is reread. I enjoyed the descriptions of Stamboul, and the book made me want to visit Istanbul. However, I found the ending extremely disappointing, if not annoying. While it leaves open the possibility for more stories, it made me impatient for an 8 year old to set off alone to find happiness elsewhere. It seemed unfair for the exotic city of Stamboul not to provide a permanent home for this able heroine. And what use were the hoopoes? I kept waiting for them to provide assistance or guidance but they primarily just followed Eleonora around.
The book is beautifully packaged as you can see, with a design that is reminiscent of the exotic world the author is trying to convey. I appreciated the opportunity to participate in the TLC Tour for this book, and did enjoy it. To see how others reviewed it on the Tour, please visit:
Tuesday, February 22nd: The Feminist Texan [Reads]
Wednesday, February 23rd: My Two Blessings
Thursday, February 24th: One Book Shy
Monday, February 28th: A Fair Substitute for Heaven
Tuesday, March 1st: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, March 2nd: Simply Stacie
I always enjoy seeing what others thought after I have written my review!