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". . . a wholly original tale . . ."
"Absolutely nothing in this lovely little book rings false."
"Highly recommended for readers of all ages."
Contemporary young adult books have become burdened by requirements and expectations no one book can hope to meet. Unless the book is Clair-de-Lune, Cassandra Gold’s remarkable fairy tale about a young, mute ballerina who must learn to face her deepest fears in order to understand the importance of love. Gold manages to not only spin a wholly original tale but to do so in language by turns melodious and downright funny – sometimes both at the same time.
The eponymous Clair-de-Lune, daughter of a prima ballerina who died dancing, lives with her grandmother in the attic of a marvelous building in an unnamed country that seems to be France. Her ballet lessons take place on a lower floor of the same building, and early on in the novel, Clair-de-Lune is befriended by the irrepressible mouse Bonaventure who hopes to start a dance academy for mice. Bonaventure in turn introduces Clair-de-Lune to his good friend Brother Inchmahome, a monk who lives in a monastery by the sea that is reached through a stairwell door that is ordinarily impossible to find. For some mysterious reason, Brother Inchmahome can understand Clair-de-Lune’s thoughts. He works with her to help her understand why she has chosen not to speak.
Golds never condescends to either reader or character. Her love of ballet is refreshing, tempered by an acknowledgement of its rigors as well. Absolutely nothing in this lovely little book rings false. Even the fact that older readers may figure out the book’s secrets well in advance of their disclosures does nothing to detract from Golds’s marvelous writing, enchanting heroine, and heartrending tale. Highly recommended for readers of all ages.
Reviewer: Lisa Lenard-Cook