Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Unfortunate Son -- Looking for Newbery (2013 style)

When Karen and I sat down to breakfast I had just started reading The Unfortunate Son by Constance Leeds and told her to add it to my list because just 10 pages in, I was hooked.  I liked it a lot.

It reads almost like a fairy tail but is set in very real French medieval times.  When counts would disown their imperfect sons at birth and force those less fortunate into sadness because their son was born perfect.  Times when children of privilege would suddenly become orphans because of their father's misdeeds.

The story of two children, Luc the imperfect son, whose luck goes from good to bad and back again over the span of a short life and Beatrice, the child of privilege who is raised by her nanny and her brother in a simple fishing cottage, filled with happiness.

The stories of these two could not be more different, but thanks to wonderful writing, they are brought together and form a strong bond that stands up to all of the bad luck in the world.

Constance Leeds uses wonderful characters, plot twists and turns to tell the story of these two and all who they come in contact with.  Her descriptions of the cities used as settings are amazing, transporting the reader back in time to experience the world with Luc and Beatrice.

While this book may not win any awards, I already have students in mind who love adventure and good writing.

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