by Sam Gayton
art by Poly Bernatene
age range: 8 to 12 years old
Lettie Peppercorn is 12 years old, and is the landlady of the White Horse Inn. It would be more appropriate to be the landlord's daughter, but Lettie's Da spends his days gambling and drinking at the pub. Of course Da didn't use to be like that. He changed the day he lost hope in Ma coming back. Lettie's Ma was an alchemist. Not the boring kind of alchemist who turns steel into gold, but the type who turns stones into pigeons. Ten years ago Ma vanished leaving a note for Lettie behind. In the note she says she is leaving to save Lettie's life, and that Lettie mustn't put a foot outside the house since it might kill her. Ma also promised to come back. Meanwhile this is Lettie's life, bounded in her house, bearing insolent guests, and taking care of Da, with Periwinkle the pigeon and the wind as her only friends. Until the Snow Merchant arrives to the White Horse Inn on a cold, dark, winter night, carrying the secret to the most amazing invention in his mahogany suitcase.
The adventures of Lettie Peppercorn is a magical story with many condiments in it: alchemy, adventure, a great friendship, a strange but loving family, and a recipe for making snow. Lettie will travel a long way to have her family together again, an every single page of this trip is pure amusement. This is my second book by Gayton. I read Lilliput a few months ago and also enjoyed it. Gayton's books makes me feel like reading an old book with modern words. The type of fantasy he writes and the way he braids it is his distinctive trait.
Bernatene's illustrations are beautiful, and they bring to life all the Victorian atmosphere of the book.
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.