by Elizabeth Foster
Genre: YA Fantasy 248 pages
A warm-hearted, whimsical fantasy tale, with lashings of mystery, magic, and mythology, and prose that 'flows like water.' Prepare to fall in love with Esperance!
"A fresh new fantasy, of an enchanting world." - Wendy Orr, author of Nim's Island and Dragonfly Song
When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father's wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme's mother, Ariane - so why can't she?
But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother's disappearance - that 'lost at sea' is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.
After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother's steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane's double life. But the more Esme discovers about Ariane, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.
This fresh, inventive tale is ideal for readers fifteen and under, including pre-teens keen to step up to YA. A wholly unique take on the genre, perfect for fans of Cornelia Funke or Rick Riordan.
Esme stared ahead at the city, desperately hoping it wasn’t just a mirage.
From a distance, Esperance appeared to be drifting on the lagoon’s surface, as if its hold on existence was so tenuous that it could slip back into the depths at any moment. High above the city, sinuous shapes pinwheeled across the sky. Daniel trained his spyglass on them.
“What are those things?” she asked him.
“You mean the dragons?”
“Dragons?” she spluttered. She rubbed at her eyes before staring skyward again. As she rose unsteadily to her feet, the boat rocked violently beneath her.
“Here.” He passed her the spyglass. “Have a closer look.”
Through the lens, she could see the sun refracting off the golden wings of dozens of creatures, gliding effortlessly through the clouds: scaled beasts, with crested heads and long snouts.
“That’s what I was doing over at Laertes,” Daniel went on, seemingly oblivious to Esme’s disbelief. “Dragon-spotting. A wild mother and her brood are supposed to have settled down there. But I’d just about given up looking when you ran into me.”
“They’re really... real?” Esme stuttered, as she retook her seat.
Daniel laughed. “Of course they’re real. As real as anything else here.”’ Wow, that’s reassuring.
But it all felt real enough. The boat rocked in the wash of other vessels that passed by. The air was saturated with salt, just the way it was back home. Gulls scoured the shores for food, scattering when pedestrians displaced them. Columned mansions with arched windows and ornate balconies lined the shores; squares and fountains filled the gaps between the blocks of buildings. Winding streets of water curled up into the city and disappeared out of sight.
Elizabeth Foster read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago, when reading to her own kids gave her the urge to create a story of her own. Once she started writing, she never looked back. She’s at her happiest when immersed in stories, plotting new conflicts and adventures for her characters. Elizabeth lives in Sydney, Australia, and Esme's Wish is her first novel.
For more information, please visit her website: www.elizabethfoster.com.au. Sign up to her mailing list (on the first page of the website) to hear news about her writing journey and upcoming books.