Wednesday 5 October 2016

The Maskmaker's Daughter - Book Review

The Maskmaker’s Daughter (A Magical Venice Story)

Holly Webb

MG Historical Fantasy

UK Publisher: Orchard

Released: 6th October 2016


Colette lives with her mother, making beautiful dresses for the rich women of Venice. She’s never known her father, and her mother won’t speak of him - but Colette’s embroidery moves and dances, and she’s sure that there is magic in her blood…

And then Colette discovers the truth: her father is a famous maskmaker and a powerful magician. But when he’s ordered to created a mask that will bend others to its will, the magic becomes too strong for him to resist. Can Colette, with the help of a talking alley cat called Max, save him?


A charming read that takes the reader into the beautiful canals of old world venice. This a story of magic, talking cats and one girl’s determination to conquer her fears in order to save her father. A lovely tale from beginning to end.

When tragedy strikes Colette’s home, she is saved from servitude by a man she believed long dead. Her father, a famous mask maker and magician. Now Colette knows why her sewing comes alive. Why her embroidery moves and dances. Magic is in her blood.

But when her father is ordered to make a mask with powers of persuasion, the magic consumes him. Now with the mask controlling her father, Colette must fight to free him of the magic… before it gets her father killed for treason. 

This was such a lovely story. A mix of history and fantasy, the author Holly Webb paints such a vivd picture of a thriving Venice. She opens with Colette’s life, showing the reader the hard work the poorer class did just to survive. This makes the reader feel instant sympathy for Colette, and we are moved by her plight when her world crumbles around her.

Colette herself is a sweet heroine. Practical and brave, with just a pinch of mischief that lets her break the rules. I liked her straightaway. Max, her talking cat, also adds much humour to the story and is a great friend to Colette.

I also like the historical details woven throughout out story. Nothing to telling, but just small facts and descriptions woven in here and there that helped bring the world to life.

In terms of plot, the story jogs along at a nice pace. Bumps of action, a few paces of character reflection, a stretch of intrigue. All of which lead to a very satisfying conclusion. I’m definitely looking forward to continuing this series!

History spiced with magic, this is a book I think girls under twelve would really enjoy. 3.5 stars!