51gqFq6cIdL._SL160_“Mrs. Jones just didn’t hold with magic. Rose had a feeling that it was probably the safest way to be. She wished she didn’t hold with it either, but it seemed to keep sneaking up on her.”

A YA/Intermediate level book with a girl’s name in the title is often a Girls Underground tip-off, and this was the case for Rose by Holly Webb. 10-year-old Rose is an orphan who’s known in the orphanage for telling great stories. One day magical pictures start appearing with her tales, though she doesn’t know why. Soon after, she is chosen to go work in a grand house as a maid, a house belonging to an alchemist, or magician (this world, mostly like our own 19th century England, also has real magic, although it is expensive and therefore reserved for the upper classes). There she makes friends with a talking cat and the magician’s apprentice.

Rose hears rumors of children disappearing in the neighborhood, and this hits home when she returns to the orphanage for a visit and finds that her friend Maisie was supposedly claimed by her real parents, although Rose can tell it’s a lie. Meanwhile, a mysterious and creepy woman has begun dating the magician, and it is not hard to guess that she is the kidnapper, and hence the Adversary. Rose and her companions plan to catch her in the act, but instead are caught themselves and brought back to her house, where she is draining the stolen children’s blood in an attempt to become immortal.

Rose manages to rescue the other children, and then faces off against the evil witch, who tries first to lure Rose to her side with promises of magic. Rose breaks her glamour, and sets a malicious spirit on her, although the witch is not certainly dead and there is obviously room for a sequel (or many, as it turns out).

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