Author: Tone Almhjell
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: 17th October 2013
The Twistrose Key is fundamentally based on a friendship, and this is where our story starts.
Eleven year old Lindelin Rosenquist is best friends with her pet redback vole, Rufocanus. She is understandably devastated when he dies. Living in a rented house with her parents can get pretty lonely, and Lindelin thrives on adventure, so when a mysterious package arrives addressed simply to ‘Rosenquist’, Lin knows it is meant for her; it uses the childhood code name she gave herself.
She stealthy keeps the parcel hidden from her curious father and opens it in private, finding a key inside that opens the secret hidden door in the cellar. Lin knows there is only one thing to do – investigate. She tumbles headfirst into a whole new world, and she isn’t alone. She soon comes across her dear old friend, Rufus. But how is he alive? Where is Lin?
Rufus explains that she is in Sylvar, a land of eternal winter, who’s inhabitants are all human-sized creatures that were once a beloved pet of a human, which is why Rufus is there. Soon, Lin’s quest is apparent, find the missing Winter Prince, Isvan, and save Sylvar before midnight, or never return home…
The Twistrose Key is a new fairytale for children, penned by the Norwegian author, Tone Almhjell. The book originally started out as an advent calander Tone was making for her sister, ‘twenty-four, one-page chapters, glued into a scrapbook,’ and seven years later is the completed book. And what an excellent book it is; the plot is a fresh idea that has the nostalgic element of Narnia hidden within it. The characters are likeable and it is easy to believe in the world of Sylvar; what child wouldn’t want to go to a world filled with their long lost pets?
As you would expect, not all the pets are out to help Lin on her quest, and a particularly nasty cat will do anything to stop her. This is a perfect read for children, ages 8+, and would be ideal as a Christmas gift. The story has that Christmassy, winter feel to it. As soon as you turn the last page, you just want to relive the adventure all over again!
The Twistrose Key is Almhjell’s first novel, and I’m certain it won’t be the last. She certainly has a gift for writing for children, and I would love to see more from the world of Sylvar.