Review: Goodly and Grave in a Bad Case of Kidnap

cover-a bad case of kidnapTitle: Goodly and Grave in a Bad Case of Kidnap
Author: Justine Windsor
Illustrator: Becka Moor
Series: Goodly and Grave #1
Genre: MG/Children’s Fantasy
Age Range: 9+
Available: Now

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Lucy Goodly is the new boot girl at Grave Hall, working for the cold, aloof Lord Grave. The other staff – Vonk the Butler, Mrs Crawley the cook and Violet the scullery maid – all seem friendly but Lucy soon notices that strange things are afoot in her new home – and not just Mrs Crawley’s experimental anchovy omelettes. There are moving statues, magical books and Lord Grave has a secret. Meanwhile, all over the country, children are vanishing. Could the mystery of the missing children be linked to the strange goings-on? Lucy is determined to find out…


Source: Review copy provided by HarperCollins Children’s Books via NetGalley

This is a fun, quirky tale that has all the whimsy of a Diana Wynne Jones book with a dashing of a Victorian Penny Dreadful adventure thrown in for good measure. If you like magic and mayhem, then this could well be for you. Even less confident readers should enjoy this, thanks to the illustrations of Becka Moor sprinkled throughout.

Lucy Goodly is not a girl that let’s life happen to her. Fed up of her parents’ gambling ways, Lucy takes control of the finances (and the card table) and finds a way to keep their small family afloat. Until she runs up against Lord Grave and ends up working as his new boot girl in his strange manor, surrounded by exotic creatures and some curious members of staff. But Lucy isn’t defeated yet and she’s determined to find a way to escape even as she stubbornly resists the lure of making friends and possibly enjoying herself.

I like Lucy, she can be rather rude and is certainly stubborn, but she’s not afraid of taking control of whatever situation she finds herself in. Which is very useful when things take a turn for the unexpected and magic enters her life in a most surprising way. She does occasionally jump to conclusions that had me shaking my head, but she’s clever and capable enough to at least try and rescue herself when trouble arises.

I loved the magic too, some of which is fiendishly clever and some of which is delightfully mundane – which is why it reminded me so much of DWJ. There’s food magic and card magic, a fascinating library that can only be accessed in an unusual way, plus a pet panther and a guard elephant, to name but a few. If you love reading about the unexpected, this book definitely gives you that.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to see what Lucy and co get up to next.


Goodly and Grave in a Bad Case of Kidnap is Out Now!
Visit Justine Windsor for more details.

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