The Penderwicks

Publisher: David Fickling Books

Four eccentric sisters and their loving but distracted father take a holiday cottage in the beautiful Arundel estate.

Once there, Rosalind, Skye, Jane and Batty (who is never without her butterfly wings) spend an idyllic summer with their new friend Jeffrey and a cast of other characters, roaming the grounds of Arundel and avoiding Jeffrey's scathing mother Mrs Tifton.

There are few of the trappings of twenty-first century life in this book; instead the girls rely on their imaginations and amateur detective skills to pass the time.

The freedom the sisters have to explore their surroundings away from adult constraints lends the novel a timeless quality, evocative of classic tales from E Nesbit and Louisa May Alcott. Altogether a reassuring debut novel, which won the US National Book Award 2005.

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