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Twelve Minutes to Midnight by Christopher…
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Twelve Minutes to Midnight

by Christopher Edge

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A disappointment. Such a clever concept -- a thirteen year old horror story writer in Victorian London is fascinated by a new phenomenon: the insane of Bedlam are waking up at twelve minutes to midnight and writing down their crazy dreams. And the kicker? Those dreams are of atom bomb explosions and the theory of relativity. Too bad the author does not have the writing chops to keep up with his own brilliant idea--awkward, wordy, cliche sentences. The editor should have given some guidance here. I give it three stars on concept alone. I have to read to the end to find out what happens! [Just downgraded this from three stars because the ending made very little sense. Too bad!] ( )
  Inky_Fingers | Sep 1, 2014 |
It is 1899 Victorian England. Thirteen year old Penelope Treadwell inherited the Penny Dreadful literary magazine when her parents died. She makes it a success through the macabre stories she writes using the pen name Montgomery Flinch, since nobody would believe a thirteen year old girl could write such stories. She even hires an out of work, drunken actor to pose as Mr. Flinch in public. One evening they receive a letter from the physician superintendent, Dr. Morris, of the Royal Bethlehem Hospital, commonly known as Bedlam, with a perplexing situation: at twelve minutes to midnight each night, patients arise as if in a trance and begin a writing frenzy on all surfaces,walls, paper, bed pans, writing crazy, indecipherable phrases. He asks Mr. Flinch to visit the hospital and determine the cause. Penny, accompanying "Mr. Flinch" witnesses the mass hysteria. Can she solve the mystery, though?

In Twelve Minutes to Midnight, Christopher Edge has concocted a fun story. Penny is a gutsy character and along with her friend, Alfie, seems up for any challenge. The story itself has some macabre twists which keep readers guessing. Mr. Edge provides a glimpse of Victorian England, the horrendous treatment of the mentally ill at Bedlam and name drops a few noted authors of the era. He has created a most evil antagonist. The description of the surroundings, dark, dirty, misty, foggy, drizzly, add to the macabre aura, but it is Penny that carries the book and will attract young middle school girls. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Nov 24, 2013 |
After inheriting a newspaper empire, thirteen year old Penelope Tredwell does what any inquisitive thirteen year old would do…she goes into the family business, incognito. Writing under the name Montgomery Flinch, no one in the greater London area has any idea that their recent reading obsession comes by way of Penelope herself. Her tales of terror and mystery have a larger audience than almost any publication and it grows daily. When Montgomery Flinch’s presence is requested at a local insane asylum, Bedlam, Penny sees this as her next big story. Little does Penny know but within the walls of Bedlam she may discover more than she bargained for and it may leave her as mad as the residents she finds herself intrigued with.

Twelve Minutes to Midnight by Christopher Edge was my first completed read of 2012 and I’m having a hard time finding anything that holds a candle to it’s brilliance. For a middle grade fiction novel from a debut author this was completely unexpected. Twelve Minutes to Midnight was the first middle grade novel since reading Juniper Berry by MP Kozlowsky that I felt truly tackled the more inquisitive and thrill seeking minds of young readers. This will be the perfect read for young readers who may be looking to young adult books, but are not quite ready for the “relationship” aspects found in that genre. Not only that, but I’m positive they won’t be able to put Twelve Minutes to Midnight down until they discover what’s behind the creepy occurrences at Bedlam.

Not only is Twelve Minutes to Midnight perfect for young readers, but truly anyone who is looking for an extremely well written thrilling mystery. Initially I was drawn to the story because of the setting. Yes, I’m completely enthralled with stories that involve Victorian Britain coupled with a bit of mystery. Because of that I think steampunk fans will thoroughly enjoy this story. Obviously the setting, including the incorporation of an insane asylum, lends itself to the creepiness factor and I will fully admit to be terrified a few times during my nighttime readings. It was fantastic!

Each of the characters in the story were wonderful, especially the leading lady. Penny was the perfect inquisitive thirteen year old. The time in which she was growing up wasn’t one in which many female authors were looked kindly upon and women in general certainly didn’t have much business being involved in the affairs of typically male roles. So to have Penny assert herself as the editor in chief, writer and many other positions at the Penny Dreadful was something of a stretch for her, but it was handled perfectly. Penny was obstinate at times, but also knew when to step back. Of course she still managed to get herself as well as her good friend, Alfie, into quite a bit of trouble while snooping around for her stories. It also must be said that the actor Penny hires to “play the part” of Montgomery Flinch is perfect! His cowardice and neediness is so contrary to the role he’s playing that you can’t help but be annoyed and laugh all at the same time. It also creates the perfect conflict when they Penny and Monty make an appearance at Bedlam. All of these characters as well as the occasional appearance of a famous author here and there (Sir Conan Doyle for one) make for a marvelous cast that have you flipping the pages until the very end.

Twelve Minutes to Midnight by Christopher Edge is my first “must-read” of 2012 and will continue to be one that other middle grade novels will be held up against. Christopher Edge has proven that he not only knows how to enthrall young and old readers alike, but that he also has an incredible ability to capture a time period so perfectly that readers will become lost within it’s pages. Penelope Tredwell is a character to be reckoned with. Her courage and determination often lead her into sticky situations but her inquisitive nature always leads her to the answers she’s searching for. Twelve Minutes to Midnight is a mystery that has readers guessing all the way to the last page and is filled with just enough creepiness to make the story one that’s best read during the day…or night depending on which you prefer. I’ll be eagerly anticipating and hoping for another installment in Penny’s story, but until then Twelve Minutes to Midnight by Christopher Edge may just need another read through!

Originally reviewed and copyrighted at my site There's A Book. ( )
  the1stdaughter | Feb 19, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0857630504, Paperback)

Penelope Tredwell is the feisty thirteen-year-old orphan heiress of the bestselling magazine, The Penny Dreadful. Her masterly tales of the macabre are gripping Victorian Britain, even if no one knows she's the real author. One day a letter she receives from the governor of the notorious Bedlam madhouse plunges her into an adventure more terrifying than anything she ever imagined - A thriller with a fast-paced cinematic style, Twelve Minutes to Midnight is an electrifying story from an exciting new author.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:48 -0400)

Penelope Tredwell is the feisty thirteen-year-old orphan heiress of the bestselling magazine, The Penny Dreadful. Her masterly tales of the macabre are gripping Victorian Britain, even if no one knows she's the real author. One day a letter she receives from the governor of the notorious Bedlam madhouse plunges her into an adventure more terrifying than anything she ever imagined - A thriller with a fast-paced cinematic style, Twelve Minutes to Midnight is an electrifying story from an exciting new author.… (more)

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