If my friend and fellow writer Anna Rose Johnson says I'll like a book… I probably will. (I think she's my mysterious reader twin.) So when she recommended the author Millie Florence, of course her new book magically floated to the top of my TBR pile. I hope you'll put it at the top of yours as well!
In a few words, The Balter of Ashton Harper is: delightful. Old-fashioned. Humorous. Poignant. Most surprisingly, though, for a book that is so light-hearted and funny throughout, it ends with a serious kick of absolute, profound, life-changing meaning. As it happens, I read Balter during one of those weeks where a few of the artists in my home (myself included) were feeling a little uncertain, and a lot discouraged, about the art we're trying to make. Maybe that's the reason I cried while I read the last three chapters. Or maybe it was just that good.
Here's the publisher's description:
Ashton Harper has three problems and two of them are his sisters. First Drusilla, the oldest, who has decided that all she cares about is muslin and courtship. Second Zizi, the youngest, a stubborn optimist who is constantly pushing her brother outside his comfort zone, whether it’s in their dancing lessons or his disbelief in magic.
And third, their invitation to audition for a ballroom dancing scholarship at the prestigious Overmorrow Academy of Arts, which could be either a dream come true or a hope-crushing failure. As a proud, sarcastic realist, Ashton is betting on the latter.
The Harper siblings set out for Overmorrow, but their opportunity evaporates when mysterious magical ruins wreak havoc on the travelers. Ashton is separated from his sisters, trying to make sense of a power that he thought existed only in fairytales. Soon much more is at stake than attending the school of his dreams.
A story of family and ambition, The Balter of Ashton Harper is woven with whimsy, hope, and Millie Florence’s signature light-hearted depth.
Honestly, I have so much to learn about life and about the craft of writing from this lovely book. I am excited to read it again very soon when I read it aloud to my kids—with so many of them hoping to pursue art as a vocation, The Balter of Ashton Harper is going right onto our homeschool required reading list.
For more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday recommendations, check out Always in the Middle!
Hi! I'm Faith. I blog about books and creativity, family and faith. Welcome!