Lizzie and her sister are forced to work in a huge manor and on a steamship to support their family.
They are caught up in several mysteries:
The squire’s oldest son cannot leave the attic
An old typewriter seems to move time and space
A passenger hides in a secret room
A beautiful visitor is plotting against them
And Lizzie discovers that she has a strange, new ability.
She and her sister must discover the secrets of The Lamplighter’s Special before their enemy catches up with them.
This story, third in Alison DeLuca’s Crown Phoenix series, was a fun, delightful little read that I found a great relaxation after the rush and bustle of the past two weeks in my life. Sometimes, you need to just dive right into someone else’s world as an escape from your own. This was a world that I had no problems dashing into.
First, a disclaimer–I have not read the other two books in the Crown Phoenix series and came to The Lamplighter’s Special with little prior knowledge of the story. I mention this because DeLuca doesn’t seem to rely on knowledge of the first two novels to establish the story and characters in Lamplighter. There were a couple light references to the others (and I did finish it thinking that I will go back to read the others simply because I enjoyed the third so much) but this is a piece that could be read as a standalone quite easily.
There was much to enjoy about this story. The setting is rich, reminding me of a movie that my daughter loved in her younger years, “A Little Princess.” It is definitely has the character of that period without all of its darker undertones. Though DeLuca does reference some of the problems of the era (class issues, in particular), she doesn’t dwell on them. In some respects, this was for me a slight disappointment as I would like to see what she would do with more emphasis on those themes but at the same time, this is not the novel for that story to be told.
I feel that this book fits neatly into the YA genre. Despite the historical setting mentioned earlier, the characters are likable and the language easy to read without being simplified for our own times (not an easy feat!). Lizzie and Ninnie are endearing characters, ones that female readers especially will relate to with their close relationship. It is the bond of family that adds the emotional impact to Lamplighter, something that kept me engaged throughout the course of the story.
All in all, I found this novel to be a good read and would recommend it to those who like a pinch of magic and mystery with their Austen or Burnett. You can pick it up (along with the first two in the series) at Amazon.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for review from First Rule Publicity from the author as part of a virtual book tour. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”