Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Magnificent Lizzie Brown, Book 3 - The Fairy Child

I cannot believe it has been eight (8) months since I read the second Lizzie Brown book!  Boy, time sure flies when you're having fun (and reading lots of books!).

Now, I show this as the third Magnificent Lizzie Brown books, and I thought this was the case based upon publication dates and everything I could find on line. But upon reading The Fairy Child, I am left to wonder if either I'm misreading the information out there, or if the American versions of these books were perhaps printed out of order.  The only reason I say this is because page 13 references Lizzie and her friends having helped the Maharaja Gurinder Bhatti find his prized ruby, which was somehow connected to a "mysterious ghost ship" - which, coincidentally enough, is the title of the last Lizzie Brown book that I have yet to read (I do have it, just haven't read it yet).

Oh, well, I suppose there are much worse things in life than reading books in a series out of order...

Getting back to the book at hand, The Fairy Child, I'm not sure there is enough room and time for me to say all of the good things about this book.  The previous two books were so well written, so full of rich characters that literally came alive and engrossing mysteries that kept me captivated, that, well, quite frankly, I didn't want to put them down.  So, I came into this one with high hopes, and Vicki Lockwood did not let me know.

Lizzie Brown joined the circus when she ran away from a drunken, abusive father.  By joining the circus, not only did Lizzie find herself a new family (one that actually cared for her), but she also discovered she had a gift.  Lizzie discovered she had the ability to "see" things about people. Their past.  Their secrets.  Their future.  And so she became "The Magnificent Lizzie Brown," the resident psychic of Fitzy's Traveling Circus.  First, she revealed the identity of the mysterious phantom that had been stealing things in London.  Then she puts an end to a plot involving a couple of grave robbers behind the guise of a couple of hounds purportedly from the devil.  Now, Lizzie faces something completely new - - fairies!

Lizzie doesn't believe in fairies,but it seems most everyone else in her circus family does.  So when they arrive in the hills of Scotland, strange things begin to happen.  And when a young girl, the daughter of the rich mill owner, disappears, it would seem that Lizzie (the last person to see her) is to blame.  Although, there are some that say it was the fairies who took her.  The very same fairies that had enthralled the girl.  Saddened by her sudden inability to locate the lost girl and facing the possibility of losing business for the circus, Lizzie sets out to find young Amelia MacDonald.

Lockwood provides a very well plotted mystery that weaves a very intricate web of deceit and red herrings.  Lizzie finds herself in competition with the famed Douglas Grant, a self-proclaimed medium who puts on quite a show (but who Lizzie knows is nothing more than a fraud).  She also comes face to face with a young Arthur Conan Doyle (who, coincidentally enough, also appeared in the Penelope Tredwell mystery I just read - but was it really a coincidence, or simply fate that the books I read back-to-back, which are unrelated, by totally different authors, and are two completely different types of mysteries, both feature the creator and author of the famed detective, Sherlock Holmes?), although he does nothing to help solve the mystery.  Rather, it is Doyle's father, who is a painter that has provided the MacDonald household with numerous paintings of fairies, both good and bad, that he has allegedly seen.  Then there's the subplot involving the reformists, those people who want to put an end to the use of child labor in the mills and workhouses.  Lizzie, whose own brother died from complications related to the work he did in a mill, sympathizes with their plight.  And we definitely cannot leave out the fact that the MacDonald household sees more than one happy ending in this story (as to what that is, and how it affects one of the circus family, well, you'll have to read it for yourself!).

I couldn't read this book fast enough, it was really that good.  I haven't been able to find any more of these books listed anywhere, so (sadly), it appears that there are only four books in the series - meaning, after I read The Ghost Ship, there will be no returning to the world of Lizzie Brown.  Which is a real shame, as Lizzie Brown is a magnificent character (pun intended) with lots of rich back story, plenty of spunky character, and definitely many more stories that could be told.

If you want a really, really, REALLY good series to read - then, this is the one for you!

RATING:  10 cracked crystal balls out of 10 for providing another page-turning mystery that drew me in from the very first page and kept me there until the very last.

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