The Silver Bowl

Diane Stanley. Harper, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-157543-3
A versatile and inventive raconteur, Stanley (Bella at Midnight) nimbly weaves intrigue and fantasy into this richly layered story set in medieval times. Sent to work as a scullery maid at the castle, high-spirited Molly bids farewell to her mother, who tells Molly that she has inherited her ability to see visions predicting the future. She also gives her daughter a necklace that Molly's silversmith grandfather had "put some good magic into," which she predicts Molly might need. Polishing an intricately patterned silver hand basin belonging to the king, Molly hears a voice urging her to "Listen!" and she sees in the bowl scenes from the past, including one depicting the bowl's creation by her grandfather, who was forced to bestow on it curses that have plagued the royal family. With crisp pacing and enticing end-of-chapter teasers, Stanley gradually reveals the intriguing story of the curse, which Molly must break in order to save a kind prince who's the sole surviving direct heir to the throne. That task and the Molly's rescue of the prince are relayed with suspense and some unanticipated plot spirals. Ages 10–up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 07/11/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-207720-2
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-0-06-157547-1
Paperback - 307 pages - 978-0-06-157546-4
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