Titles & Author:
The Delilah Dusticle Adventures:
- Delilah Dusticle: A Magical Fantasy Series for Children Ages 8-12
- Delilah Dusticle’s Transylvania Adventure: A Magical Fantasy Series for Children Ages 8-12
Eliza Bluebell: A Magical Fairy Tale
By A.J. York
Genre & Publication Date: Middle Grade Fantasy
- Delilah Dusticle (#1): January 16, 2014
- Delilah Dusticle’s Transylvania Adventure: January 15, 2015
- Eliza Bluebell: December 1, 2014
Book Description: Delilah Dusticle (story #1): “Delilah Dusticle has special powers. She can completely eradicate dust. With her quiver pouch of special dusters, Delilah can run up walls, reaching places others just can’t. As a maid in the Fenchurch-Whittington house, Delilah’s unusual skills soon lead to her being promoted to Chief Dust Eradicator and Remover. Until one day, when a broken heart leads to her powers taking an unexpected turn.”
Delilah Dusticle’s Transylvanian Adventure: “Delilah Dusticle is back with an action packed mission. In this illustrated instalment, Delilah and the Dustbusters are invited to Transylvania, to cater for the Hallow Eve Ball. All is not what it seems and Count Dracula has a very unusual request. Get ready to join the fun and experience the magic!”
Eliza Bluebell: “In the picture postcard village of Blossom Brook, Eliza Bluebell arrives changing the lives of the locals forever. With the help of her playful shadow, Eliza transforms an empty shop on the High Street into the heart and soul of the village. Find out how and read this fantastical story about friendship, butterflies and fairy cakes.”
First Line: (DD 1) Delilah Dusticle began working for the Fenchurch-Whittington family at the age of sixteen.
(DD 2) Delilah Dusticle has a special gift: she can wholly and completely eradicate dust.
(EB) Eliza Bluebell became best friends with her shadow at a very young age.
My Take: This little trio of short stories can only be compared to curling up in a chair with a bowl of perfectly buttered, perfectly salted popcorn. So charmed and delighted was I that as I read through them, a silly half smile remained fixed on my face. To ensure I do them each justice, I’ll review them separately:
Delilah Dusticle (story #1): We’re introduced to the title character in this story, Delilah Dusticle, set in the time period some years after WWII, where she cleans a great house for a wealthy family. She is a sweet character with hopes and dreams and an uncanny influence over dust. This little fable had the feel of Downton Abbey with a touch of magic sprinkled on top. When Delilah suffers a disappointment of the heart, she finds herself adrift in the world. Rather than concentrating on this loss, the author arranges a surprising friendship that blossoms into the inspiration to take control of her destiny and reach for her dreams. A lovely lesson of friendship and perseverance that brings the phrase “This too, shall pass” to mind. An ideal example to follow.
Delilah Dusticle’s Transylvanian Adventure: An opportunity is offered to Delilah Dusticle which sets the stage for another adventure filled with funny, new characters that prompt smiles and giggles (at least from this reader). Without giving away spoilers, this second installment is certainly an allegory against judging others by their appearance. People are rarely what they seem, and therein lay the adventure, both in fiction and in life. The tale ends with several threads left open for the next story to explore. A splendid yarn with a lesson in being true to oneself, for in the end pretending to be someone else is a greater torment than any ridicule one may fear from others. Beautiful.
Eliza Bluebell: Possibly my favorite of the trio, Eliza and her sprightly shadow sweep into the quaint town of Blossom Brook. At first glance, one may assume that the lives of its inhabitants are as picturesque as their home, but we all of us have troubles and fears, and we all of us need a touch of kindness to part the cloudy days that arise in life. In this tale, Eliza and her tearoom are that umbrella in the rain. With her welcoming nature and delectable delicatessen, not to mention her playful and inquisitive shadow as a side-kick, she inspires the people of the town to try new things, new perspectives and new experiences. Life is at its most interesting when we step out of our routine and our limiting notions of the world around us. Eliza shows through her sweet demeanor that to give and to be open to new ideas can be just the ticket to what ails you…as well as some crumb cake and a nice cup of tea.
The Magical: Memorable characters and unique stories that draw the reader in to an enthralling world of imagination and magic. I’ve never read anything quite like them. I must also make honorable mention of Gavin Childs, the artist responsible for the cover art and illustrations of each chapter. A wonderful accompaniment to the stories.
The Mundane: If only there were more! I reached the end and had that moment, like at the movies sometimes, when I realize I should’ve gotten the bigger popcorn bowl.
Summary of Thoughts: A power to eradicate dust. An unexpected friendship. A ball with guests straight out of the Adams Family. A shadow for a best friend and a girl who can make you the exact pot of tea and cake you were craving, while simultaneously fixing the troubles of your life. It’s all here, like a picnic under the sunshine, as bright and fulfilling as it is enchanting. These tales are perfect for the young and adult reader with characters that learn and grow, deriving strength from the kindness of others as well as from within themselves. Gather them up like tulips from the garden. I highly recommend them.
Many thanks to author A.J. York for the chance to review these three books!
To learn more about the author and her work, explore her website here