cover image The Curse of Madame Petrova

The Curse of Madame Petrova

Marjolijn Hof, trans. from the Dutch by Bill Nagelkerke, illus. by Annette Fienieg. Levine Querido, $18.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-64614-453-2

After fortune teller Madame Petrova prophesized that twins Silke and Janis would kill each other, their parents separated them. Upon their parents’ deaths, cousins return Janis to the family manor, Holderstate, intending to usurp the estate once the prophecy is fulfilled. Determined to take control of their lives, Silke and Janis fake their deaths and go on the run. Living off the land and traversing through woods is challenging for the siblings, and the myriad adversities they face are more so. Poachers and petty crooks take advantage of Silke and Janis’s naivety until the siblings are taken in by entertainers Loore and Ranno, who expect hard work from the twins in exchange for their hospitality. Loore trains Silke as a card reader, while Ranno and dancing bear Trine take Janis underwing. And though Silke starts believing that the prophecy may be fake, her and her brother’s mounting debts could mean they will never be truly free. Via immersive descriptions of the historical European-feeling setting, Hof (Against the Odds) captures the dark whimsy of a classic fairy tale. Etching press artwork by Fienieg depicting the cards Silke uses to tell fortunes begin each chapter. Characters cue as white. Ages 10–14. (Sept.)