Have you ever opened a book and totally lost track of time and place. You look at the clock and realise that those few chapters you were going to read has suddenly become a whole book finished. A book that transports you to a different place where you are oblivious of your surroundings. For me that book is ‘There May Be A Castle’ by Piers Torday. It took me to a freezing cold world even though I was reading it on the hottest September day for decades. A story that totally captivated me and held me tightly in its grasp until I turned that very last page. I laughed, I cried and I took the characters to my heart emotionally, investing myself completely in their journeys.
It’s Christmas Eve and Mouse is travelling to see his grandparents with his mother and two sisters Violet and Esme. But the weather becomes treacherous and a fierce blizzard makes it impossible to see, and the car goes off the road and crashes. Mouse is thrown from the car and when he wakes, he finds himself in a world he doesn’t recognise. He stumbles across a sheep named Bar, who can only say Baaa, and a sarcastic horse named Nonky, who appears to be his beloved toy horse come to life. With these two companions in tow he finds himself upon a quest to find a secret castle. He doesn’t know why he has to find it or where it even is, or if it actually exists. This mysterious tale follows Mouse through a world of magic and wonder, monsters, kings and wizards an exciting story beyond his wildest imagination. He faces an array of challenges as he tries to put together the pieces of the puzzle which will lead him to the castle. But as the cold grows we realise that his quest might have something to do with his family trapped in the wreckage of the car. Can Mouse find the castle before it is too late?
A mesmerising tale of courage, hope and the power of imagination ‘There May Be A Castle’ is simply beautiful. Piers has created these wonderful characters in Mouse and his sister Violet who are tested to their limits by extreme events and have to fight for their family in the most hopeless of circumstances. Their bravery and resilience is wonderfully uplifting and Violet channeling her inner pirate queen refusing to be beaten is marvellous as she battles to save her family. The contrast between reality and fantasy allows the story to be filled with fun and excitement giving the story a magical element, to contrast with the true danger they face. Putting the children at the centre of the story and allowing them to control their own destiny, gives them the power to make a difference to their ending. Unique and spellbinding, a truly extraordinary book which I whole heartedly loved.
A huge thank you to Piers Torday, Lauren Woosey and Quercus Books for sending me a copy of this amazing book.