Esme’s Wish is the first book in the Esme series by the Australian author Elizabeth Foster. The book was published in October 2017. The second book in the series, Esme’s Gift, will be published in November 2019. I would like to sincerely thank Odyssey Books for my review copy of Esme’s Wish in exchange for a honest review.
Esme’s mother Ariane disappeared seven years ago, but Esme refuses to believe the story that her mother was lost at sea. Everyone else seems to have moved on, but Esme is still searching. When her father leaves for his honeymoon with his new wife Penelope, Esme sets out to look for traces of her mother. In the quest to find Ariane, Esme discovers a new world called Aeolia, makes new friends, and learns an important lesson about hope and family bonds.
I wish I could go back in time and read Esme’s Wish when I was a teenager. While it was a delightful read now, I know that I would have been obsessed with it when I was younger. It has all the elements of the stories that I loved when I was about thirteen: fantasy worlds, dragons, and magic. Don’t get my wrong, I still very much enjoy these types of stories (anyone who knows me is aware of my slightly unhealthy obsession with Harry Potter), and Esme’s Wish is a great read.
The world that the author has created within Esme’s Wish is fascinating. The descriptions are so vivid that I can still picture it if I close my eyes. Elizabeth Foster has a true gift for creating new worlds, and I really enjoyed seeing the world of Aeolia through Esme’s eyes. New aspects of the world were revealed as the plot progressed, which made this book that much more exciting. There were a few times that I stopped on a page in order to go back and re-read a description of the world in awe. The author provides so many details, down to the names of statues and the items in shops, to name a few examples. It reminds me of Harry Potter in this aspect; the world of Aeolia and its capital of Esperance almost feels like a real place, despite all the fantasy elements, and this is entirely down to the details.
The plot of Esme’s Wish is equally as riveting as the world in which it is set. When I was younger, reading before bed was a slightly risky habit as I would always want to know what happens next. If a chapter ended on a cliffhanger I was unable to resist the urge – I had to keep reading. I experienced this exact same feeling with Esme’s Wish. The author has a real knack for persuading the reader to read just one more chapter, and then another one and another one. Before you know it, it is past midnight and you should have gone to bed hours ago. The fatigue the next day is worth it though, because the story is truly captivating. I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.
All things considered, I think that Elizabeth Foster has written a beautiful story of friendship, hope, and family bonds. Esme’s Wish is the perfect book for middle grade and young adult readers, as well as those who enjoy a bit of fantasy (like myself). It has elements which appeal to both younger and older readers alike.
When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she? But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.
After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanting world or Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the thread’s of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.
Elizabeth Foster lives in Sydney, Australia. She enjoys reading, writing, swimming, and walking. Esme’s Wish is her debut novel.
Esme’s Wish is an enchanting read. It is a story of family, hope, and friendship, perfect for middle grade and young adult readers.
My rating: ★★★★☆
Waterstones (UK): here
Foyles (UK): here
Amazon (US): here