Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Visconti House by Elsbeth Edgar

This book The Visconti House arrived in our school library last year while I was away. I bought it home because the cover made me wonder if this book might be better suited to a High School library.  I am happy to report that, no, this book is absolutely perfect for a senior Primary student.

When I blog about a book I do several things.  I like to search for thoughtful reviews and I also like to find a copy of the cover.  For this book I am posting a duo cover - our copy is the one with the face of a girl - why are her shoulders bare?  I much prefer the blue cover with the black silhouette.  When looking for a review I found that the amazing Jen Robinson had also read this book (she features in my sidebar).  This is especially terrific when you consider this is an Australian book by a fairly new author. As far as I can discover Elsbeth Edgar only has two other published novels.

Laura is in Year 8 and has just moved with her artist mother and freelance journalist father to a small country town.  They are living in a very special house.

"The first time Laura saw the house she thought it was enchanted.  Looking up at the long elegant windows, with their small balconies and intricate wrought-iron decoration, she thought she had never seen anything so beautiful."

Laura discovers the house was built by a wealthy Italian man called Mr Visconti.  "He was an Italian gentleman. ... Some people said that he had been an ambassador or a consul and that he had travelled all over the world. Others said he was a professor.  No one really knew.  He lived in the big house on his own."

So now we have the ingredients for a mystery that needs solving.  Laura, with the help of her new friend Leon, set out to discover the truth.  Why did Mr Visconti build this house with a ball room, painted murals and a magical garden?  Why did Mr Visconti come to live in Australia all those years ago and why did he make his home in this little town?  And who is the mysterious Veronica?

I enjoyed this book with its old fashioned style so much I read it in one day.  I actually put aside things I needed to do so I could sit and keep reading The Visconti House.

If you enjoy The Visconti house you might also enjoy Rain May and Captain Daniel by Catherine Bateson, The three loves of Persimmon by Cassandra Golds or The Medici Curse by Matt Chamings

" the two kids try to figure out the story of Mr. Visconti, who tried to make his house as much like a beautiful little bit of Italy as he could, but who lived and died there alone. His is a sweetly melancholy story, and it echoes the theme of the book--that difference is not something to be afraid of, and that convention should not get in the way of life and love."

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