The Courage of Cat Campbell is the sequel to The Power of Poppy Pendle which I previously enjoyed.
I have taken all week to read The Courage of Cat Campbell because I just didn't make time to sit and read but today I 'gobbled' up the final 150 pages quite quickly. For a reader this means you just have to stick with this book. While the ending might seem predictable and inevitable it is none the less very rewarding.
Poppy, who we met in the first book, is Catherine's mum but unlike her mother, Cat is desperate to become a witch. Sadly it seems she does not have 'the gift'. She is now eleven and almost resigned to a life without magic or broomsticks. Then she is set a project by her school to research someone famous and she decides to explore the life of Antonia Bigglesmith who was the first woman to fly across the Indian Ocean. She visits her grandparents to look in their attic for some props and discovers her mother's spell book and wand. Waving the wand with little hope of success she watches with surprise as
"the spider immediately puffed up to the size of a golf ball turning bright neon green."
Cat is a late bloomer. Now she might be able to attend the school of her dreams Ruthersfield Academy the only accredited school for magic in the country.
While all this is happening to Cat the most infamous witch of all time Madeline Reynolds has escaped from life imprisonment in Scrubs Prison.
Cat applies to enter Ruthersfield but they reject her because her bloomer magic is unpredictable and out of control. Poppy, her mother, won't help Cat learn to control the magic so she can reapply. It all seems hopeless until Cat realises Madeline Reynolds will be heading for her town of Potts Bottom. Perhaps there is a way she can save the town, discover the truth about Madeline Reynolds and do something so wonderful she just has to be accepted in Ruthersfield.
As a bonus there are lots of wonderful cakes in this heartwarming story about persistence, dreams and talent. As Marie Claire says
"There are no such things as failures .. only steps towards success."
Natasha Lowe has a very interesting web site well worth exploring. At the back of this book and on the author web site there is a list of advice for late bloomers - perhaps it is advice for everyone!