Blog Tour: Day 12
The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley by Amber Lee Dodd is about a family escaping a curse. As part of the Blog Tour, Amber has written a short post about a curse from history/fiction for each blog post. I am pleased to be hosting Day 12 of the Blog Tour where Amber tells us about ‘The Hope Diamond’:
The Hope Diamond
There’s a reason you shouldn’t steal but invoking the wrath of the God’s usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, that’s what legend said happened to French merchant Jean Baptiste Tavernier, after he allegedly stole a 115-carat blue diamond from the eye of a Hindu idol in India. Ever since then it’s said anyone owning the diamond will suffer terrible bad luck. Certainly, its string of owners after Jean Baptiste haven’t been too fortunate. Marie Antoinette was beheaded during the French Revolution. Lord Francis Hope of England inherited the diamond, before he squandered his entire fortune and was left in poverty. And the postman who delivered the Hope Diamond to its current home, The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, got hit by a truck. Thankfully he survived and the museum is still in one piece. So perhaps the curse has been broken?
A powerful story about family, friendship and being true to who you really are.
Twelve year old Noah Bradley is cursed: all the members of the Bradley family are. Ever since their ancestors crossed the ‘people of the hills’, members of the Bradley family have no where they can call home. The curse always finds them, destroying the home they have made in different ways from flash floods to typhoons. Fortunately, there are always signs that the curse is catching up – black cats crossing their path, the appearance of the birds. Noah knows they must constantly watch for the signs and move as soon as they appear. However, Noah loves their thirteenth home in Verity Close. For the first time he feels settled. He’s made friends at school and desperately wants to stay. That’s why he ignores the signs until it is almost too late. Will he lose everything, including his mum and his younger brother Billy, or is there, maybe, a way to finally break the curse?
A middle grade story set in modern times with an ancient curse. It’s certainly a unique idea but I wasn’t quite sure how well it would work. When I opened the book and read the prologue explaining the curse, my concerns increased. I’d promised to review the book. I’d committed to being part of the blog tour. What was I going to say if I hated this book? I certainly wasn’t convinced by these opening pages. Luckily, I then turned to chapter one and my worries evaporated.
I loved this book. Noah’s first person voice is appealing, relatable and very easy to read. The story is also instantly intriguing. Author, Amber Lee Dodd, skilfully weaves a lot of backstory into the opening chapters, adding layer upon layer of interest and intrigue without losing the focus on her characters.
The plot becomes increasingly gripping as the story progresses, particularly as we begin to realise that Noah is deliberately ignoring the signs. Then, when everything starts to unravel, the plot takes another turn and we realise there may just be a way to break the curse. But it is dangerous. Noah and Billy will need to act but will they be able to judge who to trust?
The climax is suitably exciting while the resolution is satisfying, bringing us back to the characters. I was impressed the way that all three main characters – Noah, Billy (his brother) and Neena (his neighbour and friend) – have their own character arch and all develop and change as a result of the events of the story. This gives the book a real depth, lifting it from an enjoyable and exciting read to a powerful story about family, friendship and being true to who you really are.
If you enjoyed this, you might like to read one of Amber Lee Dodd’s other middle grade stories – Lightening Chase Me Home or We Are Giants. Alternatively, why not try The Explorer by Katherine Rundell.