Author – Katherine Rundell
Age – 10+
Charles Maxim finds a baby floating in a cello case in the English channel. Their ship (The Queen Mary) had just sunk and the baby was the last to be rescued. Charles decided to name her Sophie and raises her the best he can. He was a scholar and taught Sophie himself, never sending her to school, but teaching her all about the world around her. As she was prone to dropping plates, she ate off books and learnt her lessons out on the roof of his home where she could see the sky and the birds. She doesn’t like crowds or small spaces and attributed that to the sinking of the ship when she was a baby.
As she got older she wanted to learn music and was keen on the cello as she remembered her mother playing. Charles said it couldn’t be possible that she’d remember something from when she was so young, but Sophie is adamant. After all, Charles was always saying, “Never ignore a possible.”
When the authorities came to check on them, they weren’t happy with the trousers she wore, the way her hair wasn’t brushed properly or the fact that she was allowed to draw and write on the walls of their home. It wasn’t ‘proper’.
The same authorities decide Sophie’s fate which leads them to escaping England for France – after a clue Sophie has found about her mother. What follows is a look into a world of children who live on the rooftops and in the trees of Paris. Sophie’s upbringing could be just the thing that helps her connect to these silent shadows of the night, who help her in her quest to find her mother.
(Friendship, Paris, Historical, Blended Family, Courage, Poverty)