When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?
But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.
After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.
Winner of a Purple Dragonfly Book Award for best fantasy.
“A fresh new fantasy of an enchanting world.” - Wendy Orr, New York Times best selling author of Nim’s Island.
Elizabeth lives in Sydney, Australia, where she is hard at work on the third and final novel in the Esme series. Much of her inspiration comes from nature, especially the ocean. Her series, for kids aged 10–14, has been well-received by readers around the world. Esme's Wish was honoured with a Purple Dragonfly award, an award which recognizes excellence in children's literature. Esme’s Gift, the sequel to Esme’s Wish, recently won an IPPY medal for best YA fiction, as well as a second Purple Dragonfly award. Esme’s Voice, the final book in the Esme series, will be published by Odyssey Books shortly.
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Esme’s Wish is the debut novel and first in a series by Australian author Elizabeth Foster.
Esme’s mother had disappeared seven years ago, thought to have been lost at sea. Her father is now remarrying but Esme doesn’t believe the ‘lost at sea’ claim and while her father is away on his honeymoon she plans to do some investigating of her own. While searching for clues about her mother’s disappearance Esme finds a doctor’s note about her mother’s headaches, delusions and talk of other worlds. Was her mother ill and nobody told her?
After following an eagle down to the beach Esme notices a lustrous shell in a rock pool but as she reaches for the shell she is pulled into the pool and plummeted down into its depths. When she surfaces she is in another world. She is befriended by Daniel and this is where Esme’s real journey begins. As Esme tries to uncover what happened to her mother more mysteries are revealed that will have a lasting effect on Esperance and its people.
Foster’s writing is beautifully descriptive and flows effortlessly. Esme has a strong personality thriving in seclusion after being shunned by most of the town folk. She soon becomes firm friends with Daniel and Lillian and learns to trust and rely on others. I liked that the three teens could be friends without a love triangle in sight.
I loved the town of Esperance with its watery canals, gondolas and bridges which reminded me of Venice. The world of Aeolia is tied to the Gods and frequent mentions of Greek Gods through statues and paintings gives scope for additional research.
The magical element was enchanting; my favourite being Akitsu’s shop with its enchanted paper fish, birds, beetles and butterflies all so delightfully imagined and brought to life on paper.
The story wraps up well, however also leaves on opening for the sequel Esme’s Gift.
Recommended for readers 10+ years Content: battle with a spectre
I am going to review this as a children's book and give it four stars for being very nicely written with some good ideas, a bit of adventure, a classically evil bad guy and teenagers who are smarter than the adults.
I enjoyed the characters and the magic, especially the dragons. I always love a good dragon story but felt that the author wasted hers a little, basically just using them as a means of transport. Maybe in the next book she will let them be more significant.
Actually the next book will be interesting. I cannot wait for Penelope's reaction to the latest events.
Seven years prior, Esme’s mother had vanished, presumed lost at sea. Now her father was remarrying, and fifteen-year-old Esme’s heart fought against it. She didn’t like Penelope and her family – her dominance of her father, and herself made her squirm. But her father had moved on – if only Esme could as well.
When her father left for his honeymoon, Esme decided to continue her quest to find out what had happened to her mother. Ariane had been a beautiful spirit, and Esme missed her fiercely. She caught the ferry out to the island of Spindrift where Ariane had been seen last. It was from there that Esme found herself entrenched deeply into an adventure of the likes she’d never experienced before.
The city of Esperance was a magical place; the dragons overhead and the creatures within the canals that surrounded the city were only a part of what fascinated Esme. When she befriended Daniel and Lillian, the help they gave her in following in her mother’s footsteps was invaluable. But what would happen? Where had Ariane vanished to? Would Esme find the answers she sought – or was she in terrible danger?
Esme’s Wish is 1st in the Esme series, as well as being the debut novel by Aussie author Elizabeth Foster, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The magical fantasy was done in such a believable way, it was easy to visualise the sights Esme was seeing – feel her emotions and fears. I’m really looking forward to Esme’s Gift when it is published early in 2019! Highly recommended to fans of the genre.
With thanks to the author for my copy to read and review.
This is a middle grade book that is the first book in the Esme Series, and I am reading this book for Believathon II to fill the Poacher's Pocket Inn. The main character of this book is fifteen-year-old Esme Silver. The book is mainly about her uncovering secrets about her mother's disappears. I think this book is a good middle grade fantasy book, and I think young adults and adults will like it to. I picked it up because it said great for Harry Potter fans, but personal I do not think this book is anything like Harry Potter. I am not saying Harry Potter fans will not like it, but I do not see how this book compares to Harry Potter. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher or author via booksirens in exchange for an honest review.
4☆ An Engrossing, Middle grade magical fantasy, I thoroughly enjoyed.
Esme’s Wish is the first book in a new middle grade magical fantasy and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The story starts at a wedding. Esme’s father Aaron, and his bride, Penelope have just gotten married despite Esme being completely against it.
You see Ariane is Esme's Biological Mother and she has been pronounced as mysteriously Lost at Sea. Ariane vanished when Esme was eight, they told her that her mother had drowned, even though she knew she was a strong swimmer. It just doesn't make any sense to her.
So when her Father goes off on holiday, Esme decides to go on an adventure to see if she can get some answers. It's here she encounters the Magical and Enchanting world of Aeolia.
Aeolia is full of mystery and Enchanting things, but what she discovers is that her mother also knew about Aeolia...but what is the connection? Can they help her discover what really happened to her Mum
Esme’s Wish is the perfect book for Middle Grade Readers looking to get into Fantasy books or Maybe already love the genre. Either way this has a lil bit of everything, quirky and endearing characters, an Enchanting Setting, plenty of mystery, magic and intrigue with a good dash of danger and plenty of lil twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes. I'm really looking forward to reading the next instalment!
Thank you to Rachel Random Resources for this copy which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
Esme's Wish is a debut book and first in the Esme Series trilogy written by an Australian author, Elizabeth Foster. This fantasy work has based on an underwater city named Aeolia. A fifteen-year-old Esme felt something unusual at this father's second marriage. She tried to express herself but ignored by everyone. Esme lost her mother when she was little. No one knows the details of her disappearance. People assumed that she lost her mind, and Esme's father hide the truth from her.
But somehow Esme knows that there's a lot she doesn't know; to find the truth, she accidentally entered into Aeolia, a city of dragons and enchanters. At first, Esme thought that she is gone deranged, and it is all just in her head. Soon she finds out that her mother visited this place, and her world starts changing. With the help of her new friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme unfolds many mysteries.
The plot revolves around Ariane's dual life and how Esme finds a lead on her. Everyone shares their pieces of information with Esme. Aeolia is suffering from earthquakes, and Esme finds the connection between her mother and Aeolia's legends. It makes her a target in this unique land. Will she able to find missing pieces at the right time or lost her mother forever?
Characters - Esme, Lillian, and Daniel's trio are ambitious, stubborn, kind, and brave. Their friendship felt real. Daniel and Lillian helped Esme to trust and rely on others. They helped each other grow.
Mare's character has a dark and mysterious side, but when he appeared in the cave, I felt he is a frail person; that scene didn't work for me well. I felt the thrill was missing. I hope to read more about him in the second book. Apart from this, I don't think any other character plays a significant role.
The language is explicit and error-free. The description is pleasant. The narrative is slow-paced but engaging. I appreciate Elizabeth Foster's attempt at writing, being a debutante she did a good job. If you like to read about magical creatures and appealing adventures, this book is for you. I can't wait to read the next book, Esme's Gift.
This is an amazing tale about friendship, dragons and a beautiful world with big oceans and small islands. At first I thought Esme's Wish was a contemporary, and not a fantasy (remind me to check out the Goodreads summary before reading a book). I thought Ariane really went mad and that this was a book about mental health.
The author's writing is beautiful. She made me fall in love with a world I was totally unfamiliar with - Esperance. I looked up the word "Esperance" and oh my goodness it's so beautiful. I want the word tattooed all over me.
According to Wikipedia...
Espérance is one of the two French words that can be translated into "hope", the other being "espoir". Whereas the latter is closer to the idea of "dream" or "fantasy" and corresponds to most of the common uses of "hope", "espérance" refers to an abstract, positive expectation.
Look at that acute accent on the "e"! 😍 I'm a sucker for all things French, and aaahh would you just listen to the pronunciation of the word - it's so beautiful!
Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes, I was talking about the author's writing. She described this beautiful world in a really detailed manner and ohhh TAKE ME TO ESPERANCE LIKE RIGHT NOW. I read about the world without any idea of what species the inhabitants were and why there were dragons flying in the sky. I love how the author revealed things bit by bit and we got to learn more about the world slowly.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE GREEK STUFF. There was Greek stuff everywhere in Esperance - sirens, statues of Poseidon, Greek quotes engraved on plagues... and oh WHY AREN'T THERE ANY RESULTS WHEN I SEARCH "HOW DO I IMMIGRATE TO ESPERANCE" ON GOOGLE.
Another thing I like about this book is the dragons. There are many kinds of dragons that come from so many different places and it's wonderful! Esme and Daniel are both fans of dragons and yay I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. Also Lillian always cracks me up when she gets scared at the thought of getting close to or riding dragons.
Daniel and Lillian always support Esme and go everywhere with her. They're such good friends and it warms my heart to see how they risk their lives and go on adventures with Esme to find her mother.
When is Book Two coming out? I WANT MORE OKAY. I can't wait to read it!
Esme's Wish (Esme Series #1) by Elizabeth Foster is a book I requested and the review is voluntary. This is a delightful and beautifully fanciful with magic and love. A young girl looks for her mother and is whisked into a alternative world with stores that have the craziest and most amazing things. It is a heart warming story of love between a mother and daughter. It's perfect for middle grade kids up to teens.
Fifteen-year-old Esme Silver is heartbroken when her dad remarries, seven years after her mother, Ariane, has gone missing. While the newly-weds are away on their honeymoon, Esme realises that this is her last opportunity to delve into the mystery of her mother’s disappearance before she is forced to ‘put it all behind her’ and move on. She quickly uncovers a series of clues that had been kept from her as a young child, which lead her to a journey to a parallel world. The world she discovers has everything I ever wished for as a child: enchantments, new friends, mermaid-like creatures and dragons. To investigate the mystery of Ariane’s disappearance, Esme and her new friends must uncover the truth behind the city’s ancient myths, find a lost treasure, and stay ahead of the monsters and shadows that pursue them. I believe adolescent readers like a protagonist who is everything they hope they themselves will be. Esme is smart, kind, persistent, and is mature enough to cope when she finds herself facing the world without her parents. After all, isn’t that the challenge of growing up? Esme’s Wish explores this theme in a way that allows for fast-paced adventure and engaging mystery, while still allowing the main character to feel safely anchored by the love of her parents. I wish this story had been around when my own children were the right age for it. I know they would have gobbled it up, and begged for more. Many thanks to the author for her generous provision of an advance copy.
Reading this for a group read was probably the only reason that I kept reading until the end. My initial reaction was that this was more of a children's book than for young adults. "Esmee" as the name is pronounced is a very young 15, sheltered and living at a lighthouse in what appears to be a very small town.
However, if you like dragons, which I do, and magic, which I do, then this is a fun book with lots of mystery and adventure and a good strong finish.
Esme's Wish is a beautiful, vivid fantasy novel of one girl's journey into a magical world to find out what happened to her mother who had suddenly disappeared. The portrayal of magic in this book is enchanting and the descriptions made the fantasy world come to life. This is a story of adventure and friendship that takes place in a magical world.
The book moves kind of slowly, but that aspect didn't bother me. The layers of plot, the world building and the character development all slowly built up to bring together a story full of hope and enchantment. I really enjoyed the depictions of dragons and the myths behind the creation of the magical world.
For once this is a young adult novel without romance, which honestly, in my opinion, I feel isn't always necessary. Esme's Wish is a book about the adventure three friends and Bargan. The bond between the characters growing strong friendships throughout the course of the novel. They depend on each other and learn to trust each other.
The plot is pretty cool. Esme and her friends seek for clues for her missing mother in a magical world steeped in mythology that is also full of dragons. I don't read too many fantasy novels with dragons in them, and although they weren't the main focus of the novel, the way they were portrayed was fascinating. Elizabeth Foster created an interesting fantasy world in this book, and I would definitely be willing to revisit her as an author.
I actually didn't read this. My good friend's 13 year old daughter did, and as you can see, she has given it five stars. Here is what she had to say - "Esme's Wish by Elizabeth Foster is an exciting book because it is unpredictable. It twists and turns and you never know what is going to happen next. Because of this, I didn't want to put it down. I always wanted to find out what would happen. The other thing I liked about it was the believability of the characters. I felt like I really got to know them. And I loved the fact that it was fantasy. Foster made things that could never happen in real life seem real. I think this book would be a great and exciting read for ten to fourteen year olds. I can't wait for the next book to come out!" So if you know any young peeps in this age group, here is an exciting new series they can sink their teeth into.
This is a fantastical ocean adventure sweeping readers into the depths of far away, magical places.
Esme's mother vanished when she was eight years old. Lost at sea and never found, they say, everyone has moved on it seems and accepted the unfortunate event, except Esme. Here it is, seven years later, the day of her father's wedding to Penelope, and she is the only soul at the ceremony who speaks her mind against it. Of course, who is to listen to a 15-year-old girl when there has been prejudice against her mother for years.
As Esme's father and his newly betrothed wife go away for a honeymoon, she is to stay at their home, the lighthouse keeper's cottage, right by the sea. To her dismay, Mavis - Penelope's older sister, is to stay with her. Going through her memories and pictures, Esme becomes immersed in her mother's artistic world. Art canvases tell the stories of sea creatures, ancient deities of the sea, caves, and dragons.
Upon reading letters by her grandmother, Esme wants to set out to the tiny island of Spindrift, where her mother used to stay at a cottage and paint. What she finds is a trip into the past, preserved with overgrown vines on the outside and a fully equipped art studio on the inside. Her mother's notebook and more letters hint at a distant, hidden life beyond anyone's knowledge.
When wading in an incoming tide to follow a bird that stole the notebook, she is swept under into the abyss, only to wake in a lagoon of the enchanted world of Esperance. A place of myth with dragons, leviathans, gorgons, beasts with countless tentacles and other creatures. There she meets Daniel, who dreams of becoming a dragon rider and Lillian, gifted to cast songspells. The three of them become great friends and begin to follow clues and solve riddles that would give Esme some proof that her mother wasn't actually lost at sea. At the same time, many things are happening in Esperance. Preparations for a festival are underway, repairs are made due to earthquakes that riddle the area, a history curse needs solving and a prisoner escape needs capturing who may hold many of the answers.
Esme and her friends stumble from one event into the next solving her mother's mystery. Not always unscathed, they become entangled into events that involve Esperance’s present and past. As they begin to peel back the layers of events, someone may just be using them to make the next move.
Will Esme uncover the secrets that lead to her mother's disappearance?
Much thought has gone into creating this imaginative world with its enchanting characters and creatures. An entire history with political intrigue fused with symbolism, myth and tales backs up the world of Aeolia on which most of the plot rests and draws from.
Esme is a lovely, tenacious character who shows some real feistiness in harrowing situations albeit her otherwise calm nature. Young readers will enjoy her detective work and inquisitiveness that hurls her from gaining information, into action and on to more old history that connects to her mother. A high value of family, friendship and loyalty has been placed onto the characters and shines through the entirety of the novel.
The settings were definitely sprawling from charming to grand and beautiful. An overall sense of awe envelops while reading about Esperance, its inhabitants, and creatures. A sort of magic system is set in place where people are bestowed with a gift or talent. Certain objects have symbolism and power, when used in the wrong way, they can have horrific consequences. There are what I call ‘the wise’ kind of folk in the novel. The ones that hold answers or ancient information that the main characters have to deduce their answers from and apply in solving clues.
All in all, this was a lovely story to read, however, I personally had trouble to truly connect with it. To me, there was almost too much going on in it. The overall concept and idea are of a grand endeavor. Some events seemed to be made to fit this concept, while others fell too easily into place. There was a slight pattern of information given, event followed, information given, event followed and so on versus, painting the scene, letting the information settle and simmer for just a bit. However, this novel encompasses a grand world wherein this system may offer a more overall understanding to the reader.
Definitely a promising debut novel and beginning of a series for kids 10 and up.
I received a digital copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you.
Wondering what this story is about? Here's a recent review by Compass Book Ratings.
'The author paints a real world. In the theater of my mind, I could see the wonder of this land, feel the cool touch of the water on my toes, and hear the sweet song of the Sirens. Although a little sad at first, it was easy to become submerged in this story. The author, Elizabeth Foster, hails from Australia and obviously has a passion for words. Her creative word building has produced a story that's a wonderful dash of dread and mystery all blended together to tell Esme's story. Rather than racing forward, the pacing of the story rolls along steadily and keeps the reader looking forward to the next piece of the puzzle that Esme finds.
Magic is used throughout the book but not in an overwhelming way. Born with their "gifts," the characters are expected to use them responsibly and for the good of others. This is Elizabeth Foster's first book and as good as this one is, I'm looking forward to future books.'
I was gifted the ebook, Esme's Wish from the author in exchange for a honest review.
I thoroughly enjoyed this imaginative book about a girl aged 15, Esme, whom swims into another world to find out what happened to her Mum that disappeared some years ago (thought drowned by some). This was actually triggered when Esme's Dad remarried, which is actually the introduction and beginning of the book.
In this book you will discover, a fantasy world of dragons, Sygians and we also discover that Esme has a magical gift of some kind that her and her friends discover. The plot of the story is pleasant and the adventure feel of the story appealed to me.
I recommend this book to, anyone who likes, fantasy, who likes mythical creatures, who loves book series, as this is book 1 and who likes a light read and who likes a light adventure. Great to go on holiday with.
I love this novel, and honestly I am going to read it whenever I find myself sad and anxious about my place in the world - this novel took me to an amazing place and filled me with so much joy. I'd forgotten exactly what it felt like to be young - when I used to wish the mermaids would take me away, and something about this wonderful story took me right back to when imagination and dreams were real.
An enchanting tale full of adventure, friendship and magic.
When the father of fifteen-year-old Esme Silver decides to remarry, years after the disappearance of his first wife Ariane, Esme is the only one who objects. Stubborn and selfish is how she's considered, because everyone has long ago accepted the loss of Esme’s mother. She should do the same and allow her father a chance at happiness with a new bride. But Esme wouldn't have it. Not that she doesn't want her father to be happy, but she dislikes his new bride. And she is sure there's something fishy about her mother's disappearance. Something no one is willing to let her know about.
Ariane had been supposedly ‘lost at sea’ but Esme is convinced that's just a cover for the real reason. One that not even her father is willing to divulge and Esme is determined to find out.
An old doctor's letter and a sneaky thieving seagull set Esme on an adventure unlike any she had ever dreamed about. More or less accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, a place that wasn't meant to exist, she will suddenly have quite a lot to take in. 'Magic. Dragons. Breathing underwater. Walking on top of it.' These are only a few of the things she'll have to get used to, in the place 'her mother had whispered of, the place sewn into the fabric of her dreams.'
It is here that the truth begins to unfold and Esme starts finding clues not only about her mother's disappearance, but also about her own inherited gifts. For the first time ever, Esme finds friends, who neither belittle her nor consider her weird - Daniel and Lillian, who never even hesitate to take Esme under their wing. With their help, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.
As it turns out, she and her mother both had become entangled in matters far beyond their capacity, with forces far beyond their understanding. An the stakes to unearthing the past are terrifying.
'Is it wrong to want something so badly?' 'I guess that depends on what it is.'
Delightful and enchanting, Esme's Wish is one of those tales not only middle-graders would enjoy. Trust me when I say it's just as whimsical and appealing to older grownups like myself here too. The world is spellbinding and vividly described, while the magical creatures are fantastic. And don't even get me starting on the magic! That's superb. Just as in any other typical middle-grade tale, the evil guys are positively evil and children save the day. But here, all this is part of the charm of the tale. One just as beautiful as the place it describes.
Sweet, adorable and full of all the good stuff kids like in a tale, Esme's Wish is one adventure that will stay with you even after turning the last page. Because of the beauty and charm of the enchanting world within it's pages. The only things I'll grumble about are the fact that some things seemed a little rushed and the ending felt way too abrupt. That is also the reason it didn't receive a full 5 star rating from me.
*** NOTE: I RECEIVED REVIEW COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM THE AUTHOR, IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. MANY THANKS TO AUTHOR FOR GIVING ME A CHANCE TO READ THIS BOOK. ***
Esme’s Wish is first in the series really sets its level of creativeness and inventiveness that blurb promises. Book is Middle Grade fantasy that can also enjoyed by YA readers. It was about lust for power vs love and doing a right thing for greater good and mainly about daughter-mother love with a struggle of teenage girl in finding truth behind her mother’s disappearance, discovering the world she knew only in stories which was bigger part of her mother’s life, and her trust and love for her mother that takes her through many challenges on the way of her quest.
Characters- Esme was teenage girl but what I really liked about her was she was not like typical teens- grumpy or sarcastic. She did rebel against her father who was moving on, stopped searching for her mother and now marrying Penelope. But her rebellious nature was genuine. She couldn’t move on or believe and was suspicious regarding her mother’s disappearance as her father never revealed the truth. People kept secret from her. She was nice, kind, strong, conscious and instinctive. Ooh and I loved her gifts. It was amazing.
Her friends Lillian and Daniel were amazing. They eventually became friends she never had whom she can rely on and trust for anything. Lillian was bit timid, less adventurous but sweet and kind who stick to Esme no matter how dangerous the situation was. Daniel was fun, lively and cheerful, and adventurous.
Esme’s mother- Ariane– was missing and so all about her we know by the Esme’s search and her memory of her mother before she went missing. She was great artist and was nice. As Esme got to know more about her, along with her me too felt some things weird about her actions. But I have feeling the next books of the series reveal more about her nature and actions. Same goes with Esme’s father- Aaron. I have few questions regarding his actions as well. Let’s see how these two parents turn out and react in next books. I’m excited to hear their story from their end that I’m sure will come in next books.
What I liked- That world building was so creative and awesome. Esme and her father lived in small village on a Picton Island that was a part of an archipelago. It was described nicely specifically the people of the village. The major part of the book was set in the other world that is Aeolia that she found accidentally during her search for her mother. This world had everything you would love to read in fantasy world- It had its own history and myth that was based on Greek mythology, Dragons, Sirens, people with magical gifts, creatures, and many other things which was even more interesting to read. I loved to read Aeolia’s history and its origin and all the info about this new world. Oh and there is a map as well.
Everything was depicted amazingly with stories and all required explanations. Most amazing thing about the book was, readers get to know all the answers they seek and expect from the book. Nothing was left unexplained and yet there was feeling that you will find more about the world in next books. Another best thing was no romance.
All characters were great. Those three teens were a bit more mature than I expected. Esme did learn lot in this book about her mother, her gift, and specifically about friendship. Author gave all satisfactory info on characterization with the surety that you will find more about them in next books
Third person narration made the world even broad. Esme’s feelings, grief and curiosity, doubts and her fierce determinations on finding her mom was remarkable. I couldn’t guess a thing how she will find her mother and where the clues that she got from people of Aeolia will lead her. Author created suspense so nicely that it had cozy mystery feeling. As I said earlier, along with Esme I also doubted her mother’s sanity and actions on certain points.
Twist and turns were unpredictable. Climax and end was amazing. Author put all the pieces of puzzles so smoothly. End was minor cliff hanger. There is hint on what you will find or expect in next book but makes you curious to know how that will happen. All in all climax and end were satisfactory.
I don’t have any complains for the book. It turned out as great as was promised and I have great expectations from the next book of the series ‘Esme’s Gift’ that I eagerly want to read.
Overall, Esme’s Wish was refreshing focusing on daughter-mother love with creative and unique world that will take the readers of this genre to a new adventure. I definitely recommend this book.
Sydney-sider, Elizabeth Foster charms readers with her delightful tale of magical fantasy in Esme’s Wish.
Esme’s Wish is the first in a fantasy trilogy for readers 10+.
The story is centred around fifteen-year-old Esme’s search for her missing mother, Ariane. Everyone but Esme has given up on finding Ariane who went missing at sea. Seven years on, Esme’s Dad has decided to remarry a horrid woman called Penelope. While her dad and Penelope are honeymooning, Esme makes a last ditch to find her mother and gets more than she bargained for when she disappears into a rock pool and discovers it’s a portal into another world. Foster’s magical world under the sea is reminiscent of Venice.
World-building is where Foster excels. The island of Esperance comes alive with vivid and lush details. All the hallmarks of great fantasy are included in Esme’s Wish: magical powers, sorcery, enchantment, fantastical creatures, supernatural beings; wonderful world-building; a cast of well-developed characters; a power structure of government; and compelling conflict.
Themes of friendship, resilience, and resourcefulness abound.
Esme’s Wish is guaranteed to charm and captivate readers of all ages.
Esme’s Wish is a fantastic middle-grade fantasy. Since the day her mother was presumed lost at sea, Esme has never given up hope that her mother is alive. On a visit to the island where her mother was last seen, Esme accidentally swims through a portal. A magical world called Esperance awaits her. As Esme explores, she makes friends and retraces her mother’s steps. When an ominous danger threatens, Esme realizes that her search for her mother may be linked to saving Esperance.
The story begins with Esme objecting to a wedding and I knew that it was going to be a fun time. I was genuinely delighted with the world-building, which feels similar to a Miyazaki film: imaginative creatures, creepy monsters, and beautiful art. Esme’s Wish is a lovely read filled with the spirit of adventure, portal travel, and true friendship. Written in a gentle and pleasant style, the story flew by. I quickly finished Esme’s Wish and was eager to start the sequel! Esme’s Wish is available now! Thank you to Elizabeth Foster, BooksGoSocial, and Netgalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
- The cover is so pretty! It reminds me of a mellow summer, fresh, cool breezes and the sea. :)
- This is a portal fantasy!!!!! Which is, like, my favorite thing ever going all the way back to Through the Looking Glass (aka, one of my favorite books!!).
- The descriptions were so vivid, I could picture everything perfectly.
- The beginning of the book drew me in but I kind of started losing interest after Esme went through the portal? Which is odd because as I said, I love portal fantasy...
- There were ghosts! I mean, only a few and they weren't explained much but were just kind of THERE and that was interesting. Mortimer was amusing. XD
- As for the characters, I liked David...I think that's his name? Maybe it was Daniel...? Yep, nvm, it was Daniel. (Please, excuse my scattered brain, it needs more sleep.) I liked Lillian and Esme pretty well too. The three teens friendship is lovely. I found the Keeper (Augustine, I believe? What a name), intriguing and I want to learn more about him.
- Now, as I said, the descriptions were good but there was maybe too much sometimes?? and not enough actually happening? Idk. All I can say is about midway I just wanted the book to be over but I didn't exactly /dislike/ it so I didn't want to dnf. I just...slogged through with about a third of the interest I'd had before. (Maybe my constantly distracted brain is the most to blame, idk.) Fortunately, near the last quarter of the book, the pace did pick up and some of my former interest came back. . . All in all, this was a good book? And I liked it well enough? But it wasn't a super good book and it definitely wasn't great. At least not for me. I wanted more, I guess. More emotion, more character depth, more story, more /something/ I can't quite put my finger on.
Would I recommend it? Eh, I dunno. It depends on the person. I wouldn't not recommend it, anyway. I advise reading the blurb and deciding for yourself if it's something you're interested in. :)
I'm planning to read the next book at some point. I want to find out what happens next. But not for a little while yet.
Esme is a teenager who has been without her mother for seven years. Everyone assumes her mother drowned, but Esme is not sure. She goes searching for clues and falls through a tidepool into another land -- one her mother used to tell her stories about. People here can breath under water, they have magical gifts and there are dragons! This is a gentle fantasy with much promise for future series additions. I loved Esme and really hope we get to know her mother better in later books in the series.
Esme’s Wish is a delightful fantasy that captures the beauty of a watery, magical world, the trust of true friendship, and the strength of one girl’s loyalty to her mother.
Esme longs to discover what happened to her mother, who disappeared several years ago. Everyone else, including her father, have moved on, but for Esme, the unanswered questions plague her. Until, in her search, she finds herself magically transported to the world of Aeolia. There she discovers that her mother had an extra life full of art, magic, and danger. With her two new friends, Esme begins to uncover the mystery of what really happened to her mother.
I had Esme’s Wish sitting on my bedside bookshelf (thanks very much to the author for a copy) for a month before finally getting around to reading it. Why, oh why did I delay? Because Esme’s Wish is delightful right from the very first page. And I loved that first page. Hilarious and heartbreaking all at the same time.
Esme is a strong and independent main character. She is determined to find answers to her mother’s disappearance, stands up to the people she dislikes, physically defends herself, and jumps straight into the action. But she is neither unkind or infallible. As she makes friends with Lillian and Daniel, as she discovers more about the wonders of Aeolia, and as she continues her search for her mother, Esme grows in confidence and strength.
Esme’s Wish is the perfect middle-grade to young-adult crossover novel. It has a child-like quality and Esme comes across as younger than her fifteen year, but the book is written in a way that will capture the attention of older readers. Aside from a little mild fantasy violence, there is nothing to stop younger readers picking it up. Esme’s Wish is very well written and crafted with obvious care. Who wouldn’t enjoy a book that employs words like avaricious, phantasmic, and nebulous (and that was just from one page).
The world Elizabeth Foster has created is unique and yet similar enough to our own world for both Esme and the reader to fall into it quite easily. But there are benefits to the magical world of Aeolia, including dragons, the ability to breathe underwater, and magical Gifts. I loved how some of the magic crossed over with science, for example one man’s Gift is echolocation, while another’s is the ability to move and shape water. The history and culture of the world also had a number of similarities to our own, rooted in Greek history and mythology, which is explained when Esme learns the history of Aeolia.
Overall, Esme’s Wish is a delightful fantasy, one I will greatly enjoy sharing with our library’s readers. It is the first book in the series, and while it has a very satisfactory ending (I love how everything was neatly and cleverly tied up), I can’t wait to read the sequel, Esme’s Gift, which promises more adventure, friendship, and magic.
The author provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library.
It's been long time since I read a book where I could get lost to the extent that I didn't want to come back to my real world with its real problems. Esme's Wish is set in 1988, but it could have easily been today. The story feels timeless and enchanting. The book begins with a wedding. Esme's father Aaron finally got tired of looking for his missing wife Ariane and decided to re-marry. Everybody seems happy with his choice of a bride. Penelope is feminine and practical, she fits in the social fabric of the village. She is very unlike Ariane whose head was always up in the clouds thinking of the next painting she is going to make. Ariane's body was never recovered, but Esme still hopes her mother is alive and so she objects to the wedding. Unfortunately, nobody takes her seriously and her life is about to change after her father and stepmother going to come back fromtheir honeymoon. Ariane decides to take a trip to her grandmother's house where she finds her mother's notebook which gets snatched by a sea eagle. Desperate to retrieve it Esme runs to the rock pools at the water's edge. One of them has the same shape she saw in one of her great-grandmother's drawings. Ariane follows the eagle and dives in. And...discovers a portal to a magic world where you can breathe under water because it is enchanted. There she travels to a magnificent city of Esperance and makes new friends Daniel and Lillian and has lots of amazing adventures at the heart of which is her search for her mother Ariane. You guessed it right, Ariane visited this magic world many times. In fact, she probably spent in Esperance as much time as in her own world. The story is a sheer delight. Who hasn't dreamt of a secret place where magic is alive? Most citizens of Esperance get a magic gift which develops in their adolescence - charming water, seeing future, healing, singing spellbinding songs and many others. Didn't you dream as a child of having a special magic ability- something that would make you stand out from others? Unfortunately, the world of Esperance isn't stable. Terrible earthquakes have been devastating it for the past seven years. The same time as Esme's mother has been missing. Perhaps there is a connection to discover and perhaps it is up to Esme to save this beautiful city with its friendly people. Esme's is a fabulous character. She is determined and fiercely loyal. Esme might come across as a bit younger than her age, a younger teenager who is coming into her own. She shows courage and intelligence in going through her numerous adventures in Aeolia and it is easy to root for her. Wonderful world-building, good pace, likeable characters, Esme's wish has a lot going for it. Any big questions? family, trust, friendship, feeling of belonging or not belonging somewhere. Highly recommended.
Thank you to the author and the publisher for the review copy provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
Fifteen-year-old Esme’s mother disappeared at sea seven years ago and it seems she is the only one who is unable to move on. Her sense of hopelessness is amplified in the opening scene, with her father marring Penelope - a woman for whom she has developed a mutual dislike.
While her father is on honeymoon, Esme decides this is her last chance to investigate her mother’s disappearance, believing that others are covering up what really happened to her all those years ago.
She travels to the family’s humble holiday cottage on a small island where her mother was last seen - preparing paintings for an art exhibition. Subtle hints have been made up to this point that an ‘otherworld’ exists– although Esme has not previously stumbled across it.
I must confess I don’t read fantasy often, but this book genuinely had me captivated. The stunning fantasy world is so well drawn and relatable to the ‘real world’ (with human characters and ‘normal’ every-day experiences), that I was able to visualise the beautifully depicted magical elements easily. In fact, I particularly enjoyed the whimsy and imagination in this book and the way it embodies the innocence of childhood. I can still sometimes see in my own daughter glimmers that she is willing to suspend belief in the hope that such a world might possibly exist. This book was a visceral reminder for me of what it was like to daydream at that age.
The magical city of Esperence is reminiscent of Venice, with watery canals and ancient buildings; some of them collapsing into the sea following earthquakes that began seven years ago. But there are also golden dragons, Gifts, enchantresses, sirens and songstresses. Gondolas move by themselves, watering cans refill automatically, and messages are sent in glass bottles that fly – but they look and behave like fish. With velvet-covered, gold-embroidered books, I would visit the library there every day if I could!
Being the first in a series, this book’s target audience is aimed at 12-15 year olds. However, I understand the intention is that the series will grow with the protagonist, Esme. Enough mystery for the next volume remained at the end of the book, yet it was satisfying in that many aspects of Esme’s mission were accomplished.
This is a gorgeous and highly readable debut novel from Elizabeth Foster. I can only imagine the enjoyment she must have felt writing it.
Thank you to the author and Odessy Books for my advance copy.
We would just like to say a very big thank you to the author of ‘Esme’s Wish’, Elizabeth Foster! Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us, offering us both the chance to receive a signed copy of her extraordinary novel along with two gorgeous bookmarks which we absolutely adore! We couldn’t wait to dive into this novel!
‘Esme’s Wish’ is the tale of a fifteen year old teenage girl, Esme Silver, who has witnessed the unbreakable boundary of which her father has crossed when choosing to remarry. Athough, Esme insists that her mother is indeed alive, living in one world or another. So many different clues come to the same conclusion that her mother, Ariane had either disappeared or been lost to the sea, which she of course didn’t believe. While her father is off on his honeymoon, Esme conducts her own investigations, starting at the very place her mother was last seen. She discovers hidden truths and a whole new world, waiting for her to explore.
Finding herself in a mystical, unknown city called ‘Esperance’ in a world known as ‘Aeolia’. Diving head first into unknown waters, Esme soon realises that the mother she once knew is unlike the one that the residents of Aeolia have come to love. Over the course of this extraordinary novel, Esme goes on a once in a life time adventure where she truly finds herself. She soon learns that the world is her oyster and that she must reach within herself to grasp every opportunity that life throws at her.
The more we read this novel, the more we loved it. As we made our way through its pages, we couldn’t help but find some amazing qualities which made the main character Esme so fierce. She was strong, empowering and showed leadership and empathy. She had the ability to find the positives in every situation. Its important that we all find the light to see through our darkest days 💗.
We absolutely loved the magic and mystical aspects to this lovely story. Elizabeth is such a beautiful writer! We really did vision ourselves in this unbelievable and breathtaking world. We just have to also point out that the imagery within this novel was spectacular. Our favourite parts would be both the links to dragons and sirens.
This novel is just so beautifully written! We can’t wait to read more from Elizabeth Foster! Definitely make sure you check out the first novel to this spectacular series ‘Esme’s Wish’!
Her mother has gone missing and her father just remarried. Is seven years too long to still grasp onto the hope that Ariane will return? Or should Esme move on too and just accept that her mother met her fate and will never come home?
Esme’s Wish is a story of emotion, questions, and adventure. What begins as a mental breakdown with Esme coming to reason that everyone is likely right about her mom, then takes a sudden turn and launches her into a world lined with the hope that maybe, just maybe, her mom is still alive in this world.
Esme is an easily likable character and one that we can sympathize with. Though her actions make her out to be a typical, stubborn teenager in the eyes of adults, we learn about her and realize that she is vastly misunderstood. We, as the readers, get to know her in the way that her mother knew her and therefore the treatment she receives for still believing that her mom might return is seen and felt by the readers as unjust and unfair.
The world of Aeolia is so, so beautiful. The vibrant colors and descriptions, the magic and mystery, and the creatures are all so enticing. This world encouraged my imagination to soar into the sky with the colorful and powerful dragons, just before delving deep into the waters with sirens, if the rays and ghosts didn’t get me first 😉 It’s definitely a world that I would love to see in a movie someday.
What I loved most about Esme’s Wish is how realistic Esme reacted to finding a new world. She was skeptical, questioning her sanity, and didn’t just jump into believing like typical fantasy novels. Esme’s discovery of the quest was also very well done. It wasn’t forced, it was happened upon by accident and though there was help from other characters along the way, I loved that everything happened for a reason other than “she was destined”. It was so much more unpredictable like that.
Esme’s Wish is great for both Middle Grade audiences, and Young Adult audiences. It’s completely clean, with no vulgar language, no romance, and no intense action scenes (though there is some action and mentions of blood). Overall, I was very, very pleased with this book and cannot wait for Book 2 to release!
I received this book from the author through my affiliation with Book Sirens. I was not required to write a positive review, all comments and opinions are entirely my own.
Esme's Wish starts like any other realistic YA fiction: - with a troubled teen in the real-world, railing at the powerlessness of her plight in the world of adults. There is clearly an element of mystery from the outset, with the strange disappearance of her mother but no immediate indication of any supernatural elements... Drawn in by a well-paced and relatable realism, the narrative takes a turn (unexpected, for me) towards fantasy but even so, it remains accessible. Esme finds herself in a recognisably human world on "a different plane", rather than a completely imaginary and overly complicated universe, that might alienate any readers but die-hard fantasy fans. I was extremely thankful for this, as an appreciator of good fantasy, without it being the genre I naturally gravitate to.
Esme's Wish is a beautiful example of a light, friendship-focussed fantasy, which I can see appealing to avid, peer-absorbed, teenage readers, with a yen for escapism... and dragons. Yes, dragons. The more I come to know about fans of the fantasy genre, the more I realise the importance of dragons to any popular fantasy novel and Elizabeth Foster is acutely aware of this. We are introduced to the presence of dragons in her fictional world, from an early point but via a masterful sense of pace and suspense, the reader is left pining for the majestic creatures to take their rightful place in the tale. (Even me!) Will we be rewarded with a ride on a dragon? You'll have to read to find out.
The strength of Foster's debut novel is its flawless prose style, underpinned with an intriguing and slowly unravelling mystery, based on the universal truth of the bond between mother and child. Esme and the omnipresent Ariane, draw the reader's sympathies and keep us guessing their fate until the end, only to be rewarded with the promise of a continuing saga, like any good debut in an intended fantasy series. I'm not the target audience for Esme's Wish but it was a satisfying read and well-written to boot. I can imagine myself curling up with the second book when it appears, as I am intrigued by the web of inter-relationships Foster has created. Congratulations on a strong debut!
The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. —Jacques-Yves Cousteau
🌿🌿 ESME WISH: A WONDROUS WORLD AWAITS. Esme Trilogy Book 1.
Published by Odyssey Books in 2017, this is the author ELIZABETH FOSTER'S Debut Novel.
Genre: Fantasy Fiction. Audience: MG to YA. 295 pages 33 chapters. Available @amazonkindle for INR 76/-.
The 2nd part in the trilogy, released in Nov. 2019 ESME'S GIFT: A Thrilling Odyssey Awaits.
🌿🌿 NoW LeT's TaLk AbOuT tHe BoOk 1.
🍁 First & foremost, the book begins with a MAP of Esperance, the capital of Aeolia.
🍁 The story begins with the protagonist ESME'S father Aaron getting married in the church with Penelope, irrespective of esme's disapproval, 7years after Esme's mother- Ariane May Silver disappeared/ was lost at sea.
🍁 Esme lives in Picton Island. Point to be noted, Ariane- her mother was not born & bred in Picton. The villagers disliked her mom for reasons unknown to her, to the extent that Esme had almost negligible friends in Picton.
🍁 Her father was a lighthouse keeper & ranger.
🍁 She has a 🐈 cat, Reuben, who has now aged. A majestic Sea Gull, fav. of her mom, watches her at the church & then till she reaches her home & then again at the lighthouse where she remininces over her mother's mystical paintings..
🍁 The language is simple but very descriptive & enchanting.
🍁 I am aMaZeD at the narration, it is fabulous!
🍁 Esme swears to find out, what actually happened to her mom! And from here her journey full of mAgiC begins!!
🌿🌿 I looooved the author's writing style, choice of words and narration.
I feel this book needs to be read by more people, it's aMaZiNg!!
Full of magic, dragons, a strong-willed girl, friendships and love..this is one, Middle Grade to Young Adult Crossover, aWeSoMe-enchanting-consuming read.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Esme’s Wish is a coming-of-age tale of a misfit who refuses to accept a 'truth' she’s told she has to believe and move on. Her rebellion sparks an adventure interwoven with mystery, magic, and astonishing self-discovery. Elizabeth Foster’s characters ‒ human and otherwise ‒ are well-drawn, solidly real in their family tensions and peer struggles; so real that one particular character always conjured up the image of a young teen I used to know, who would have relished being cast in such a tale. But there are other characters at play here: the locations themselves, tactile and vivid, equal partners with the characters in the drama that unfolds. The powerful sense of place filled me up with light and air and sea in the way a long weekend at the coast does. One location reminded me of a certain ancient European city (sorry, no spoilers!), where I’ve felt lost in a maze of time and feared I might never get home. Esme’s Wish is like that: a world of delights and wonders where you long to explore, yet fear what may lie beneath. I loved so much about this book: Esme and her friends; the enigmatic Amaris; the worlds of Spindrift and Esperance; the storyline itself, with its themes of loss and seeking and enchantment. I look forward to the next in this series ‒ a really great read for YA and higher Middle Grade readers.