I recently had the pleasure (!?) of a five-hour train journey with my family and thought that the second novel from Australian author Matilda Woods, would be the perfect story to escape into. Was I right, you ask? Yes!
Oona Britt is the very much unwanted seventh of seven daughters. A fortune-teller had foretold that she would be the son whom daring and brave Captain Britt so desperately wanted. Unfortunately, Oona wasn’t, so she spent her life unwanted and uncared about, hiding in the roof of the local school to learn to read and write (she wasn’t allowed to actually attend lessons properly) or down at the docks of Nordlor gazing at the frozen ocean she so longed to sail upon in the hope of spotting a magical nardoo.
Now as her father was the captain of the fine ship, The Plucky Leopard, you would think that Oona would be able to hop on board whenever she wanted. But this wasn’t the case. Her father wanted nothing to do with her.
When the threat of marriage looms large for Oona and her sisters, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and stowaway aboard Captain Britt’s ship before it heads out onto the Northern Seas to catch a whale to feed the town. Will she spot the nardoo she’s hoping for or is Oona about to find a lot more than she ever imagined?
As I began reading this thrilling icy tale, I felt a little tingle of magic trickle down my spine. I knew I was about to embark on an adventure into frost-spangled realms. How right I was. The pages were full of myth, hope and bobbing shipwreck buildings.
I couldn’t help but root for independent and unwanted Oona as she continued to strive for the affection of her despicable father. In fact, her whole family reminded me a little of pantomime villains, such was their cruelty and stupidity! I hadn’t a terrible feeling that Oona might not get the acceptance she craved. My heart aches for her as she was rejected and she mistreated time and time again.
This is definitely a book to be enjoyed curled up under a warm blanket, by flickering candlelight, with a warm drink. Magical! For readers aged 9+
*Many thanks to Scholastic for sending me this title to review*