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My Friend The Octopus - Lindsay Galvin

Updated: Jun 16, 2022

The blurb:

England, 1893, and aquarium fever is at its height.

Twelve-year-old Vinnie Fyfe works in the tea-shop at Brighton aquarium, and waits for her milliner mother to return from Paris.

The arrival of a giant octopus changes her life for ever. Discovering a talent for art, Vinnie begins to draw the extraordinary beast.

She soon realises she can communicate with the octopus through colour and – as a gripping mystery begins to unfold – discovers what true courage really means …

Having loved 'Darwin's Dragons' with my class in lockdown, I was eagerly anticipating this new novel from Lindsay Galvin, with similarly historical roots, but this time with an octopus and a young female heroine rather than Syms and his dragons. The wait, ladies and gentlemen, was, I can honestly say, worth it! Dare I say it, I enjoyed this even more than Dragons...?!

I think it's slightly faster paced than Dragons, and I absolutely loved the elements of menace with the sinister and his following and threatening behaviour towards Vivienne (Vinnie). With elements of Sherlock Holmes as the children solve clues and try to solve the mysteries; twists and turns as characters turn out to be less than true and honest; shades of Oliver Twist in the London workshops...there's something for everyone in this action-packed thrill ride, all neatly couched around the story of the incredible octopus that has been acquired for the Brighton Aquarium, and who Vivienne makes an incredible attachment to through her sense of colour and it's ability to change it!

There are thrills and spills (literally!), and lots of genuine emotions and drama, too, especially around Vinnie's relationship with her less that reliable mother, and lots of lovely historical detail and features as well - the bathing machine scene in particular.

More brilliant stuff from this great author, and once again, Chicken House - the beautifully presented book, with its French-fold covers, is an objet d'art in itself, that artist/designer Vivienne would be proud of!!

My thanks to Chicken House and Laura for having me on the blogtour - check out what others have to say via their stops and the links below:

Find out more at the publisher's website:

or by following the, or author Lindsay at @chickenhsebooks and @LindsayGalvin

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