I’ll start off by saying that this is a children’s book I discovered in the 9-12 section of Waterstones’s shelving system, but even though it’s a little young for me I read the blurb and I thought, well, you can’t lose out for just giving it a read, and I could see all the awards it’s won on the cover. I’m so glad I did read it though, because I absolutely loved it. I thought it was just a beautiful book, and I don’t know how much you know about me but calling a book ‘beautiful’ is about as high praise as I give. I loved the way that it was so freely written, as if the writer had sat down and written out her thought processes, instead of having a staggered story line written out before and it was a matter of filling in the gaps.
I though Sophie, the main character, and her adopted father called Charles were amazing people that I actually related to a lot, with the plants growing in through the windows and the fact he made her trousers in an era where women would either wear skirts or dresses, no compromise. It never actually says the time it was set, but it appears to be Victorian era (correct me if I’m wrong, I dropped history at my first opportunity and now what few skills I possessed before are very rusty) and I liked the feminist overtones to the novel. The whole story just flew and I read it over the course of only one day, which doesn’t happen often!
I’ll give you a brief outline of the story (don’t worry, no spoilers): A man named Charles discovers a baby floating in a cello case after a boat sinks, drowning a lot of people and leaving only male survivors. He takes this child home and despite the fact he is a man with no wife or children, he adopts her, to the shock of those around him, although he appears to have little regard for the opinion of others. They have a wonderful time until the child, Sophie, reaches the age of twelve, and the authorities decide to take her away to an orphanage for girls, but neither she or Charles like this plan so they run away to find Sophie’s mother, whom she is convinced is still alive. True to the name of the book, she begins roaming the rooftops of the place she ends up, and has amazing adventures.
I really recommend you read it because it is wonderfully written and I would easily say it is one of my favourite books, if not my absolute favourite. My mum also read it and she loved it as well, so even if you are a bit older (or a lot older) I would give it a go!