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Heart of Stone by M. L. Welsh

Heart of Stone

by M. L. Welsh

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In this, her second tale, Verity Gallant lives up to her name again. She is truly brave and good, but she is not perfect, she makes mistakes, and this is what makes her a strong and admirable character. With her friends, Henry Twogood and Martha Platt, she enjoys their beautiful, quiet harbor town of Wellow (I love that name; it sounds like a wonderful place), walking on the downs, sailing Henry's dinghy, "Poor Honesty," and cozying up in the library. All is well until an insiduous white sand begins worming its way into Wellow, and into the library in particular. All the villagers start having horrible dreams. Verity realizes the sand has something to do with the "Original Stories" known by her Gentry Grandfather and the kind, but mysterious librarian, Miss Cameron. She discovers that the sand is scouring away the happy original stories, trying to make the world a sad place. The sand is the Earth Witch, who is trying to return to seek revenge on her sister, the Mistress of the Storm (from the first book in the tales), who stole her true love. Miss Cameron and the children start re-inking the damaged stories in an effort to stop the destruction. It is exhausting, endless work. Verity learns that the odd, rather pitiable new chemistry teacher is not what he seems, but the servant of the Earth Witch. She puts herself in grave danger to thwart him. Verity and her friends struggle with exhaustion, but press on, knowing that to stop will bring chaos. I pictured looming, grey skies during these dark parts of the story. The myths, though a bit confusing at times, bring depth and mystery to the plot, but it is the well-drawn characters and the setting that drive the story. I look forward to more Verity Gallant Tales!

After I finished the novel, I searched the web for the author and found www.veritygallant.co.uk. Melanie Welsh grew up on the Isle of Wight, south of England, in a small fishing village. She was an avid reader like Verity. Wellow is a combination of the town of Ventnor on Wight and elements of Southwold, where she lives now. One reader said that Wellow was a character in itself. I agree! When a setting seems like a place I’d like to visit, even live, it has come alive for me. The library in the story is based on the Southwold Sailors’ Reading Room, which was established in 1864 as a rest and recreation site for sailors. Today it is a recreation room and museum. All of these facts contribute to my love of the stories. ( )
  bookwren | Aug 10, 2012 |
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Hello Joe and Ben. This is a secret message just for you. Lots of love from Mummy xxx
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Prologue: It takes a long time to reach this stretch of coast, but when you do, the sight of its emerald-green ocean can lift even the darkest soul.
Chapter One: "It seems to me," said Henry Twogood, "that if a person was particularly fond of their catapult, they wouldn't leave it on the kitchen table."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385752431, Hardcover)

After a wonderful summer of sailing, Verity Gallant just wants life to stay the same forever. But as she should know by now, not everything in life turns out as we would like. The land is shifting beneath the ancient harbour town of Wellow, causing mysterious caves to appear in cliff faces, terrifying rock falls, and dangerous landslides. And the earth isn't the only thing crumbling . . . Verity is thrilled that Jeb has returned, but their feelings for each other threaten her friendship with Henry and Martha.

Verity and her friends are embroiled in a tale of evil, intrigue, and lost love, as a powerful force works its way towards Wellow, hell-bent on putting an end to all happiness. The Heart of Stone is the key, and the race is on to find it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:59 -0400)

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When a strange white sand invades the harbor town of Wellow and land begins shifting, Verity Gallant finds clues in ancient books and, with her friends, tries to stop the Earth Witch's evil plan to deprive the world of happiness as she was once robbed of her true love .… (more)

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