Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy

Splinters of Scarlet is a gripping historical adventure with a fascinating thread of fantasy and magic woven into the tale.

Life in Denmark in the mid-1800s is hard, especially for orphans Marit and Eve who have no one to care for them. Too old to stay at the orphanage, Marit struggles with the deaths of her father and sister while also facing the mixed blessing of an incredible magical power that is also a curse. The shadow of the Firn looms over her every time she summons her powers from within. The magic that runs through her veins allows her to do the most amazing things but may also cost Marit her life.

When Eve is adopted by a legendary ballerina, Marit manages to secure a position with the Vestergaard family as a seamstress. From her lowly position, she hopes to be able to keep watch over Eve and make sure she is safe in her new life.

Conflict and mystery surround the house. Will Marit be able to discover the truth about her father’s death, uncover the mystery of the unique jewels mined by the Vestergaard family and find a place she can finally call home? Truth, danger, mystery and deception fill the pages of this gripping story.

The community of servants brings hope and happiness to quite an emotional story. With a bit of an Upstairs, Downstairs / Downton Abbey feel, readers are drawn into the lives of both the wealthy and those who serve them. Links to the Danish royal family, Hans Christian Anderson and the ballet in Copenhagen add layers of culture to the story, while Eve’s West Indian heritage and the struggles she faces because of it challenges the racism of the time.

Splinters of Scarlet sits at the top end of Middle Grade. With some description of injury and death and a fairly tame love interest, it would suit a mature Year 6 child and find a solid home in Years 7 & 8.

Thank you to Pushkin Press for this intriguing book!

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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