Jacqueline Harvey, Clementine Rose and the Special Promise (Clementine Rose #11), Random House Australia, 4 Jan 2016, 149pp., $14.99 (pbk) ISBN 9780857987860
Clementine Rose is a lovely little girl who lives in Penberthy Floss in a large ramshackle house with her mother, Lady Clarissa Appleby, Digby Pertwhistle the butler, Aunt Violet and her teacup pig, Lavender. In this eleventh book in the series, Clementine Rose has to say goodbye to her friends, Sophie and Jules, who are moving back to France for a year or so. She is sad to see them go but Sophie has promised to write. The family who take over the Pierre’s Patisserie have a daughter Clementine’s age but Saskia turns out to be quite awful and this makes Clementine miss Sophie even more. At home, Drew and Will come to stay while their new house is being renovated, which cheers Clementine up at first, but the nasty Saskia manages to drive a wedge between her and Will. The Special Promise is not what Clementine thinks it will be and she causes some havoc along the way because of her misplaced assumption. Aunt Violet has many asides about events and this adds to the feeling that the story has been written with a view to being turned into a stage play. This is reinforced by a Cast of Characters list at the end of the story. Given that this story does have a host of characters, for those not familiar with the series, I would have liked the character list to appear at the front of the book (as it would in a play format). This story stands alone but could be an easier read for first timers if they had an idea from the start how the characters fitted into the context of life at Penberthy House.
Reviewed by Julie Long