The Secret StarlingFeatured
Clara Starling lives a life of dull rules, deadly routine, and flavorless meals under her cold uncle’s strict regime—until the day Uncle disappears, leaving Clara alone in his old mansion. When streetwise orphan Peter and his rescue cat arrive unexpectedly, the children seize the chance to live by their own rules. But when the pair’s wild romps through the halls of Braithwaite Manor reveal a single, worn ballet slipper, they are hurled into a mystery that will lead to London’s glittering Royal Opera House and the unraveling of twisted Starling family secrets of poison, passion, and murder. Diabolical villains, plucky orphans, and glamorous ballet stars populate this absorbing adventure with a classic feel.
Reasons to read THE SECRET STARLING:
1.) The mystery: THE SECRET STARLING features an intriguing, dramatic mystery with several unexpected plot twists. The beginning is on the slower side, but once the ballet slipper is found, the pace picks up.
2.) The illustrations: In the review copy I received, the illustrations were unfinished but still lovely. I particularly enjoyed the ones featuring the neighborhood kids (and their horse) Clara and Peter meet.
3.) The tone: THE SECRET STARLING features several familiar elements, like being an orphan, making a ragtag group of friends, etc. It brings that warm, familiar tone to the story, even as the mystery is heating up. The ending is especially touching.
Fans of Maryrose Wood and Claire Legrand are sure to like this heartwarming story from Judith Eagle.
I continue to worry about British parenting and childcare. Reading a lot of Jacqueline Wilson at one time can make me want to investigate how social services in the UK works! Edwards' Mandy came out in 1971 and there was a fairly effective orphanage. Would Clara have been better off there instead of with the uncle? For those concerned, there is a happy ending.
This has some similarities to Chalfoun's The Treasure of Maria Mamoun, as well as Guterson's Winterhouse, and a definite ring of classic British literature like Streatfield's various Shoes books. This is a great book for readers who want a murder mystery that is clue oriented rather than gruesome.