Elizabeth Foster, Esme’s Wish, Odyssey Books, 30 Oct 2017, 248pp., $22.95 (pbk), ISBN: 9781925652246
Right from the first page, readers will know that Esme is brave: when asked if anyone objects to her father Aaron’s marriage to Penelope, she puts up her hand. She’s dismissed, but Foster has already laid the foundation for a story about a very brave young girl who does the right thing, even if it doesn’t seem like it to anyone else.
Esme’s Wish is about family – about Esme losing her mother, lost at sea and assumed dead, even though Esme harbours a deep suspicion that things are not so simple. Her father has moved on to a woman who doesn’t like Esme, so it’s no wonder that when Esme is swept into Aeolia, she is determined to uncover her mother’s connection to this magical land.
In Esme, Foster has created a determined young woman, with a palpable connection to her mother. This is one of the connections that the author does so well – the other is with Esme, Daniel and Lillian. Daniel and Lillian are from Aeolia, and help her navigate this world, and search for the truth behind her mother’s disappearance. Esme proves herself to be a bit of a peacekeeper too, brokering a cease-fire of sorts between Daniel and Lillian, who were once best friends before an incident broke up their friendship. This is a strong friendship, and one that hammers home the theme that everyone is born into a family, but the relationships you build and nurture can be just as strong.
Foster has created a wonderful world, with a rich history. Some might find the historical parts slow down the pacing of the book, but other readers will relish the detail Foster puts into this adventure, and will enjoy learning about this world, much as Esme does.
Reviewed by Verushka Byrow