Today is my stop on the bookstagram tour for The Whisperling by Hayley Hoskins, and I also wanted to share my review with all of you on my blog too.
When you’re dead, you’re dead. When you’re gone, you’re gone. Unless, of course, you’re not. And that’s where I come in.
The year is 1897, and Peggy Devona can speak with ghosts.
She hides her gift from those afraid of a girl with such powers, terrified of the secrets the dead could reveal through her. But when her best friend is accused of murdering her rich mistress, Peggy knows only she – a whisperling – can save her.
Peggy escapes to her uncle’s psychic emporium in the city, seeking out new ghosts to help her solve Sally’s case.
Yet time is running out, and each step towards uncovering the truth also brings Sally one step closer to the gallows…
*Thank you to Kaleidoscopic and Puffin for my copy of the book, in exchange for an honest review*
I don’t usually read a lot of middle grade, but I have been trying to read more recently, and this sounded like the perfect one for me to read. I was definitely not mistaken, because The Whisperling was fantastic.
The story begins with Peggy Devona, and her best friend Sally. Peggy is a whisperling, which means she can speak to the dead, but she can not reveal her secret because people’s fear can make them do crazy things. But of course Sally knows her secret. When the two friends fall out, Peggy is left feeling very alone, and when she tries to contact Sally, all she gets in response is silence. This is soon revealed to be because Sally has been arrested, and will be being sentenced to death for a crime that Peggy knows her friend would never have committed. Now, her gift could be the only thing that could save Sally.
Set in the Victorian era, I think that Hayley Hoskins did a brilliant job of capturing that era, and especially the way they felt about the paranormal. We got a real feel of their day to day life too. As someone who has always been fascinated by all aspects of history, I really enjoyed this element of the story.
There is a real mix of characters within the story, with some rather large personalities. Cecily and Oti were two of my personal favourites, they were bright and fun, and were always willing to help Peggy with anything she needed. Peggy herself was an interesting character, because she was very sweet and caring, but also extremely strong, and determined to do everything in her power to save her friend. Her loyalty to Sally never wavered, and that’s the sort of friend we all need in our lives.
I absolutely loved following Peggy while she explored her gift, which was getting stronger by the day. Despite her young age, she clearly understood the seriousness of what she was able to do, and she respected it, while also wanting to push her abilities in order to help Sally.
The plot twist ending was completely unexpected. I certainly didn’t see it coming, and when it did, it absolutely broke me. I haven’t cried that much at a book in quite a while. It was so brilliantly written that I felt every emotion. But this twist flows so beautifully in to the ending of this story, and makes for a very interesting ending, which also leaves room for a sequel.
This book was so much more than I had expected it to be. It was fast paced, emotional, exciting, and a real joy to read. What a fantastic debut from Hayley Hoskins, and I’m definitely hoping to read more about the Devona’s in the future. This is probably one of the best middle grade novels I have ever read.
I give The Whisperling a 4.5 star rating!
About The Author:
Long listed for the Bath Children’s Novel award, Hayley Hoskins writes in the space between family and work, with much support from her writing group.
Mum to a teenage boy, she spends a disproportionate amount of time hoping that her son’s life is far less complicated than those of the characters in her books, and trying to ensure he becomes a ‘good egg’.
Originally from the Forest of Dean, Hayley lives with her family and hairy breezeblock of a dog in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
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