Debrarian's Reviews > Wishing for Tomorrow: The Sequel to A Little Princess

Wishing for Tomorrow by Hilary McKay
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's review
Apr 12, 10

bookshelves: j-fic, history-or-ish
Read from April 07 to 08, 2010

As a devoted fan of A Little Princess (a formative book in my personal canon) I was fairly scandalized at the hubris of anyone writing a sequel; but as a devoted fan of the works of Hilary McKay (fantastic characters; charming, hilarious and unsentimental stories), I was tentatively hopeful of the result.

And you know what? It was good. Not fantastic, and not utterly convincing as a seamless sequel, but solid and interesting and true to the spirit of the original while having its own voice. And even redemptive, as McKay sketches in a bit of back story for characters such as Miss Minchin, Lavinia, Lottie and this story's heroine, Ermengarde, and then leads them forward onto new paths both logical and surprising.

The voice of Sara is seldom heard, but that is all to the best as it really is too uncomfortable to have a modern author speaking in Sara's mannered voice of another age. Lottie is terrific, which isn't surprising given that McKay is always at her best with scrappy and stalwart young kids. (And she manages not to make her into a copy of her kindred character Rose, which must have been hard.) And it was astute to tell the tale via Ermie, who must certainly have felt terribly abandoned when Sara was spirited away.

I did feel McKay was slightly hamstrung by having to be true to the original setting and characters, and unable to let fly completely with her own ample fancy, but she gets believably into the heads and hearts of her young characters and tosses in a terrific new one, the strong-minded Alice, the maid who replaces Becky. And it was pleasant to come away with hope for all the denizens of Miss Minchin's, including the grouchy old harridan herself.

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message 1: by Patricia (new) - added it

Patricia Hmmm. A little princess is perhaps my favorite book from ages 8-12. I'm interested to hear your review.

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