Synopses & Reviews
Unwanted at home, Molly goes to work for the king of Westria as a humble scullery maid. She arrives at the castle with no education, no manners, and a very disturbing secret: She sees visions, and those visions always come true.
One day, while she's working in the king's great hall, young Prince Alaric passes by. Molly finds him unbearably handsome—but also unbearably rude. But what does it really matter? She'll probably never see him again.
In time Molly is promoted to polishing silver and is given a priceless royal treasure to work on: the king's great ceremonial hand basin. But there's something odd about it. The silver warms to her touch, a voice commands her to watch and listen, and then the visions appear. They tell the story of a dreaded curse that has stalked the royal family for years. There have already been deaths; soon there will be more.
As tragedy after tragedy strikes the royal family, Molly can't help but wonder: Will the beautiful Alaric be next? Together with her friends Tobias and Winifred, Molly must protect the prince and destroy the curse. Could a less likely champion be found to save the kingdom of Westria?
"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.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Praise for Bella at Midnight:“Fans of fairy tale retellings will enjoy the fanciful twists in familiar territory, and long remember this engaging heroine, destined for a happily-ever-after life.” Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
Praise for Saving Sky:“This page-turner skillfully captures the irrational fear of a public under siege while giving kids a modern-day, almost-just-like-them female hero who champions hope. Inspiring.” Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Saving Sky:“The main characters are well rendered and likable, and, in her portrayal of the earth-centered, nurturing Brightman family, Stanley succeeds in delivering the message that hope trumps fear.” School Library Journal
Praise for Bella at Midnight:“Once begun, it will be hard to put down.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Praise for Bella at Midnight:Stanley subtly twists strands of the Cinderella story until its something quite new and fine.“ Booklist (starred review)
“An accomplished storyteller, Stanley uses her singular gifts to craft a remarkable historical fantasy. Combining carefully chosen details of setting with a richly realized fantasy premise, Stanley succeeds in creating a believable world large enough to accommodate not only menace and evil but also loyalty, enduring friendship, and love.” Booklist (starred review)
“Veteran Stanley concocts a delicious blend of familiar fairy-tale motifs and intriguing, well-rounded characters to create an engaging fantasy. A most worthy and enjoyable entry in the ‘feisty female fantasy genre.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Adventure, magic, subtle romance, betrayal, and monstrous curses take this book far beyond the typical scullery-maid-makes-good tale.” School Library Journal (starred review)
Praise for Bella at Midnight:“More than a reworking of the familiar, this is a 21st-century fairy-tale, throughly enjoyable in its own right.” School Library Journal (starred review)
“[T]he pacing is masterful, with new information and character development doled out in exactly the right doses, intercut with thrilling escapes and clever plots...a satisfying yarn of loyalty rewarded and mutual understanding gained.” Bulletin of the Center for Children & #8217;s Books
“A versatile and inventive raconteur, Stanley (Bella at Midnight) nimbly weaves intrigue and fantasy into this richly layered story set in medieval times.” Publishers Weekly
"An engaging fantasy. A most worthy and enjoyable entry in the feisty female fantasy genre, said Kirkus Reviews.
Don't miss The Silver Bowl, which received three starred reviews, was named a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews and Book Links Lasting Connections, and was an ALA Booklist Editors Choice.
Unwanted at home, Molly becomes a humble scullery maid for the King of Westria. She arrives at the castle with no education, no manners, and a very disturbing secret: She sees visions that always come true.
In time, Molly begins polishing the castle's fine silver pieces, which include one priceless royal treasure: the king's great ceremonial hand basin. But whenever she touches it, the silver warms beneath her fingers and the bowl's designs swirl into a vision that only she can see. A dreaded curse has befallen each generation of the royal family and now it threatens the handsome Prince Alaric.
Together with her friends Tobias and Winifred, Molly must protect the prince and destroy the curse. Could a less likely champion be found to save the Kingdom of Westria?
About the Author
Diane Stanley is the author and illustrator of beloved books for young readers, including The Silver Bowl
, which received three starred reviews, was named a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews
and Book Links
Lasting Connections, and was an ALA Booklist
Editors' Choice; The Cup and the Crown
; Saving Sky
, winner of the Arab American Museum's Arab American Book Award and a Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year; Bella at Midnight
, a School Library Journal
Best Book of the Year and an ALA Booklist
Editors' Choice; The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy
; The Mysterious Matter of I. M. Fine
; and A Time Apart
. Well known as the author and illustrator of award-winning picture-book biographies, she is the recipient of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children and the Washington Post
-Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award for her body of work.
Ms. Stanley has also written and illustrated numerous picture books, including three creatively reimagined fairy tales: The Giant and the Beanstalk, Goldie and the Three Bears, and Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.