Review – The Girl in the Tower
  • Posted:
  • October 5, 2015

The Girl in the Tower

The Girl in the Tower is an upcoming fantasy novel written by Lisa Schroeder. I downloaded it hoping for a fun read, thinking it was a play upon Rapunzel.  For its similarities, I found it to be nothing like that tale. Instead it’s a precious, enjoyable romp about a young girl who spends her youth growing up in captivity. It sounds dark and sinister but I assure you that it isn’t. It is sweet and charming and full of gorgeous illustrations by Nicoletta Ceccoli. I loved it so very much. 

Violet was born in a castle after her mother, Nuri, went into labor on the road. Nuri traveled with a pack of wandering minstrels , including her husband Marko. The Queen of the realm, Bogdana (a witch in disguise), met with Nuri and her daughter and decided to keep them locked away in a tower. Bogdana has a spell that she needs Violet for; a spell that will keep them under lock and key for over a decade until Bogdana may cast the enchantment.

Nuri tries to make life the best that she can for Violet. She invents games and lessons to occupy their time, all the while hoping that her husband will find them. Violet, small and inquisitive, knows little else than the tower itself until the gardener, George, and his wife, Maggie, take pity on her. George builds her a secret garden to further her play, encouraging her to sneak into it as frequently as possible.

But this is only the beginning of an enchanting and magical tale that finds young Violet and her jewel-like Hummingbirds in possession of Queen Bogdana, who wants her to become the princess of the land.

I found this book to be exactly what I wanted. It reminds me of classic books that I read as a child; of fairy tales and folklore and so many things that I love. It’s simple and it’s straight-forward though it’s carefully crafted and exquisitely detailed in tandem. I loved the soft elegance of it.

Violet is a dreamer, a girl full of life and of love. She is trusting and sweet and brimming with ideas. She’s the type of heroine that parents will want their children to read, the kind that embody all of the good-natured qualities of children. Against Bogdana she is a perfect foil of light versus dark, of good versus bad, and beauty versus ugly. She is an innocent curious child wrapped up in a world out to get her, and she handles herself very well. She is a self-possessed girl with many tricks up her sleeve, and she will surprise you on many turns.

The illustrations, as mentioned, are gorgeous. Ceccoli’s skill is deft and subtle, a loose rendering style that relies upon hatch-marks and precision. The style is playful and aids to enhance the old-fashioned quality of this book. I tried to imagine it without the images and came up short. It would have been a pity to have read an advanced copy without them, and I am so glad that they were included in the preview.

High on whimsy, light on terrors, this sweet novel of hope, perseverance, and optimism will delight younger readers. It’s smart and funny and very cute. I want to read it to a child of mine in the future, and I cannot think of any higher praise than that.

5 out of 5 stars.

– BP

The Girl in the Tower releases March 29, 2016. Thanks to the fine folks at Henry Holt and Edelweiss for an advanced copy.

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