Published: 18th September 2012 by Pan Macmillan AU
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
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Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, the World - a city of spires, Isaac Newton and Auntie's Tea Shop.
Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello - where seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn of attacks from dangerous Colours. They are worlds apart - until a crack opens up between them; a corner of white - the slim seam of a letter.
Elliot begins to write to Madeleine, the Girl-in-the-World - a most dangerous thing to do for suspected cracks must be reported and closed.
But Elliot's father has disappeared and Madeleine's mother is sick. Can a stranger from another world help to unravel the mysteries in your own? Can Madeleine and Elliot find the missing pieces of themselves before it is too late?
A mesmerising story of two worlds; the cracks between them, the science that binds them and the colours that infuse them.
An unexpectedly sweet and riveting read, A Corner of White follows two teenagers in vastly different worlds, who find solace and comfort in one another amidst their problems. The book is a rich, comforting blend of superbly written contemporary fiction and well realised fantasy – resulting in a unique read that will undoubtably appeal to many readers.
Madeline and her mother have run away from her father and now live in Cambridge, a far cry from their previous lives where they had all the comforts that money could buy. Now they subsist on beans and bad TV. Elliot has always been a popular kid at school, blessed with great friends and a wonderful family. Until a Purple kills his uncle and his father disappears. Now Elliot spends his time searching for his father and taking care of his cousin and aunt. While initially they don’t seem anything alike, as the book progresses it becomes clear that the two protagonists have a lot in common. Both are bewildered and lost after the loss of their fathers, causing them to become melancholy. It’s hinted that both used to be quite popular prior to this, and there’s a lingering sense of nostalgia, that if they could get their father’s back, everything will be back to normal.
A Corner of White is incredibly well written; it’s very easy to follow both Eddie and Madeline’s stories and keep track of what’s going on where. The letters between them, exchanged through a crack between their worlds, keep readers in the loop. Stylistically the book has a lot in common with contemporary novels, but is thematically a Fantasy novel: magic realism would be the best category to put it in. Although it follows fifteen-year-olds, I think the maturity and delicacy of the plot line will make the book enjoyable to a wide range of readers.
Personally, I love the ideas of Colours being entities in Elliot’s world – that roam the land and have different effects: Purples and Greys are dangerous, Reds rouse or confuse passions, Lemon Yellows can kill or blind an entire village. The world the author has created in Cello is as wonderful and vivid as the characters that inhabit it. Elliot lives in a village called Bonfire, and it has this small town charm that I loved, with all the characters caring so much about him and helping one another out all the time. In contrast, with Madeline in Cambridge, you get a tremendous sense of being alone in a crowd: Madeline, despite being surrounded by people who care for her deeply, is extremely sad about the loss of her old life.
The Colours of Madeline series is shaping up to be a wonderful new adventure, and I will definitely be following its progress. I am already looking forward to the sequel, and am eager to explore the world of Cello. A Corner of White is a must read for those looking for a gentler introduction into the Fantasy genre, or for those looking for something unique within it.