Review Blog

Apr 06 2009

Waterslain angels by Kevin Crossley-Holland

cover image

Orion Children's Books, 2008. ISBN 9781842556917
(Age 9-14) Recommended. An intriguing mix of mystery, adventure and history, Waterslain Angels is a compelling story. Ten year old Annie, an independent and risk taking young girl, joins up with Sandy, an eleven year old asthmatic geek, on a summer quest to find the missing carvings of angels that once adorned their Norfolk church and which haven't been seen since Cromwell's time.
Set in the 1950's, in the salt marshes of north Norfolk, this atmospheric story gripped my attention right from the start. One of the beautiful wings of an angel was found in the attic of the rectory and once Annie has seen it, she is determined to find out what happened to the rest of the angels. She and Sandy have a series of dangerous adventures following clues that involve learning about the history of the Reformation and the Norfolk area. They climb up rickety stairs to the church bell tower where they are attacked by bees, and almost drown in an underground tunnel. They also know that someone else is on the trail of the angels.
Crossley-Holland combines his descriptions of the children's hair-raising adventures with fantasy-like but frightening descriptions of the dreams that Annie has, featuring one of the angels whom calms her fears of being pursued and tells her that the angels are waiting for her.
Poetry and beautifully written portrayals of the landscape, as well as the details of family life, add to the richness of the prose. This book is a keeper.
Pat Pledger

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