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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Nell is determined to find her beloved missing au pair in this vibrant adventure set in, and underneath, Paris. Penelope Magnificent spends as little time as possible with her awful parents—a grocery-mogul father and a fashion-obsessed mother who loves expensive purses more than she does her daughter. But when they mention an important trip to Paris, Nell begs to come along. Paris holds something very dear to her: her old au pair Perrine—Pear—who lives there. Pear used to write to Nell every week, promising to come to her rescue, but recently the letters stopped. With the help of a savvy bellboy named Xavier, Nell sets out from her parents’ ultra-fancy Parisian hotel to find her beloved Pear. But Pear’s old neighbors and coworkers are strangely tight-lipped. And as Nell’s search for the truth takes her and Xavier to some of the darkest, most mysterious parts of the city, a sinister plot comes to light involving the destruction of a cherished—and delicious—part of Parisian life. Food…

The Pear Affair

by Judith Eagle

Overall Book Review:

What do a forgotten/unwanted child, a missing au pair, a bakery plague, subterranean Parisian tunnels, and a handbag all have in common?  They are intricate facets to this romping tale of a girl and her steadfast determination to find the one person who always loved her no matter what.

Nell, or Penelope as her parents call her, is a young girl who is often ignored.  Sent to boarding school by her absentee parents, she often feels forgotten and unloved.  But when a chance to chase down her lost au pair-whom she was incredibly close to-presents itself, she quickly latches on and what ensues is a jaunt through the tunnels under the city of Paris as she meets new friends and uncovers a mystery of epic proportions.

This middle grade novel is written with fast-moving action.   While the main character is a girl, I think readers of all walks will enjoy the crew of new friends she assembles which provide a relatable character for just about every person I can imagine.  Younger readers might struggle lightly with some of the French bakery names, streets, and French lingo used, but using context clues I don’t think it will inhibit their reading too much, which is really the only drawback to this book.  The chapters are relatively short, so readers who need natural breakpoints will find them easily.  While there are illustrations within the novel, there are only a few, so this should not be confused with a graphic novel.

Full of delightful mystery, fun characters and an ending that resolves all the questions, this novel is sure to delight readers who are looking for a fast-paced ‘who done it’.

Review of an advanced reading copy from the publisher

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  2 religious exclamations; 3 mild obscenities.

Violence and Gore:  Punch to face; reference to corporeal punishment–being canned or hit with ruler with no detail; character pushed out of door twice; two characters collide while running without injury; character is dragged away during kidnapping and arms are tied behind back; characters are drugged into sleep; belongings are tossed and destroyed; verbal threat; reference to kidnapping in past; catacomb wall is lined with bones (scary/creepy).

Sex /Nudity:  2 kisses to cheek as French greeting;

Mature Subject Matter: 

Abandonment, stealing, blackmail and poverty.

Alcohol and Drug Use: 

Adults smoke.

Overall Book Rating
Profanity/Language
Rating:
2
10
Violence/Gore
Rating:
2
10
Sex/Nudity
Rating:
1
10

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About the Reviewer

I am a full-time mom, full-time wife, and overtime reader. I have been an avid reader for as long as anyone can remember. It must run in the family because both my mother and grandmother are also voracious readers and often pass books back and forth. Almost any genre can spark my interest, but I often go in streaks, reading a bunch of books from one genre, then switching to another for a while and back again.