Tuesday, April 1

The Grudge Keeper by Mara Rockliff, Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler

In accordance with the FTC, Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer received a review copy of this title through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are hers alone and no monetary compensation was offered to her by the author or publisher. Cover art is copyright of Peachtree Publishers and is used solely as an aide to the review.

In the town of Bonnyripple a man named Cornelius holds many grudges, but none of them his own.

The townsfolk entrust him to keep record of all their squabbles, but when a sudden storm throws all of their scuffles to the wind, what are any of them – especially Cornelius – to do?

'The Grudge Keeper' is a very witty remark on how people can allow negativity to dampen their lives. At first Cornelius' occupation would appear to be a clever one. It allows the townspeople to vent their feelings in a non-aggressive manner...but as the scrolls build up in Cornelius' cottage, so too do the ill feelings in Bonnyripple.

Rockliff begins the story with precise wording and lovely alliteration, which then picks up a wonderful buoyancy as the story progresses. She has an excellent hold on tension and pace, which is best demonstrated when the wind storms through the town. Rockliff's great asset is her skilled use of onomatopoeia, which envelope the reader and implore that the story be read aloud.

The book is illustrated in watercolour by Eliza Wheeler, with beautiful scenery and expressive characters. The illustrations begin with a darker atmosphere and lighten to accompany the tone of the story. The soft colour palette perfectly suits the little farmlike town.

'The Grudge Keeper' has a delightful humour that encourages the reader to not only laugh at the antics of Bonnyripple's townsfolk, but also at themselves and the silly spats that can tangle up our lives. A charming read.


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