‘Past meets present in this most fantastical of fairytales… I can categorically say that there is no-one else who writes with the same unique imagination of Sally Gardner.’
Title: Invisible in a Bright Light
Author: Sally Gardner (@TheSallyGardner)
Cover illustrator: Helen Crawford-White (@studiohelen)
Publisher: Zephyr (@_ZephyrBooks)
Page count: 320
Date of publication: 17th October 2019
Series status: N/A
Perfect for Year 6 and Year 7.
1. Chandelier 🕯️
2. Theatre 🎭
3. Game 🎲
It is 1870: opening night at the Royal Opera House in a freezing city by the sea, where a huge, crystal chandelier in the shape of a galleon sparkles magically with the light of 750 candles.
Celeste, a theatre rat, wakes up in a costume basket from what she hopes is a bad dream, to find that everyone at the theatre where she works thinks she is someone else.
When the chandelier falls, she is haunted by a strange girl who claims to know Celeste’s past and why she must risk playing a game called the Reckoning to try to save the people she loves.
Waking up in a costume basket in the theatre, Celeste thinks she’s just been on the receiving end of a bad dream. However it can only get worse for her when she finds everyone at the theatre where she works thinks she is someone else much grander than she actually is – a dancer preparing for her performance. When she can’t find her mother and someone calls her by a different name, it seems that Celeste – an orphan who’s at the bottom of the theatre pecking order as she runs everyone’s errands – soon realises she is in far deeper into a mystical world than she initially thought.
As the strangeness of the events gets stranger still, a crystal chandelier in the shape of galleon crashes down from the Royal Opera House’s ceiling leaving Celeste injured and unable to dance. Owing to this seemingly at first random accident, Celeste begins to see her former life through a ghostly somebody else who seems to know more about Celeste than she does and plays her part in the Reckoning herself with past meeting present head-on.
From the very first chapter, this story holds you in the palm of its hand with its plot that tantalisingly unfolds and its exceedingly imaginative array of characters from a mysterious man in an emerald green suit that haunts Celeste’s mind from the beginning to his game of the Reckoning which is, in itself, like a character of its very own with its truly terrific twists and turns.
I can categorically say that there is no-one else who writes with the same unique imagination of Sally Gardner. Reading her readers’ note in the proof copy of the inspirations behind this story of a women keeping a chandelier shining in the Royal Opera House in Copenhagen really showcases the quality of how she mixes fact with fiction to create the most fantastical of fairytales.
Big thanks to Sally, Jade and all the team at Zephyr Books for inviting me to be a part of the Invisible in a Bright Light blog tour on publication day and for sending me a signed proof copy.