In the last few weeks I've been reading volumes 1and 2 of Jaclyn Moriarty's YA trilogy The Colours Of Madeleine - A Corner Of White and The Cracks In The Kingdom. The author will be doing part of her promotional blog tour here on March 16. I have yet to read the final volume, A Tangle Of Gold, the reason for the tour, but I am looking forward to it, as the second volume ended on a cliffhanger. Not sure when I'll get that as an email to the publicity department got me an automatic response saying that they only check it intermittently and if it's urgent, phone them. Hopefully it will be intermittently checked in the next day or so, as I have to send them interview questions for the author in the next two weeks.
Meanwhile... What is The Colours Of Madeleine about?
Madeleine and Elliot are pen pals. They write letters to each other about everything from science to their lives. Both of them are missing a father. His father has disappeared, possibly carried off to its caves by a rampaging Purple. She and her mother ran away from home individually and now live in a small squashy flat in Cambridge, England, while her father hasn't been answering her letters or email.
The thing is, they live in different universes. He lives in the Kingdom of Cello, a country in a world where there are colours - or, rather Colours - that have physical form and can kill you or inspire you to dance and rejoice. Magic can be found in the Lake of Spells up north. The seasons aren't reliable - today might be summer, tomorrow there might be snow. The people in his kingdom know about our universe, which they call the World, but they haven't communicated since the seventeenth century, when someone brought back the plague from London. You can be executed for communicating with the World through cracks between the universes. But when Elliot finds a world crack in a sculpture in the high school's grounds and Madeleine sees a letter sticking out of a parking meter on a Cambridge street, a correspondence begins, and a possible inter-universe romance.
And Elliot's father isn't the only person missing from Cello ...
I can't tell much more because of spoilers and you'll hopefully learn more on March 16, but I can say that it's a sweet and gentle story(you really can't read the second volume without the first, so yes, story, singular) with magic, mystery, adventure and teen angst. And baked goods, lots of baked goods, especially on Elliot's side of the barrier, but also in Cambridge tea shops. My mouth watered as I read!
I think I have to agree with the author's friend Adam that it would be pretty hard to farm with unpredictable swinging seasons, even with greenhouses - and anyway, what did people in Cello do before greenhouses?
I was fascinated by the science discussions, though. Madeleine is one of three teens being home schooled by several different people. Their science teacher is an Indian neighbour who uses her small daughters to demonstrate aspects of physics. Their history teacher is a porter at Cambridge university, who gives them the task of researching a historical figure who lived in Cambridge. Madeleine's historical figure is Isaac Newton, who seems to play a vital role in the background to these books. Learning about him definitely helps her to work out certain things Elliot needs to know. I'm just waiting to find out if Newton plays an even more important role in explaining what is going on in Elliot's universe.
Let's see what the author has to say in my interview a few weeks from now!