The Mask of Aribella

Written by Anna Hoghton, Illustration by Paola Escobar, Published January 2020 by Chicken House Books.

On the eve of her 13th birthday, Aribella and friend Theo are being taunted by another boy, Gian. He is teasing and saying things that can’t possibly be true about Aribella’s mother. In her anger, flames shoot from her fingertips and she is called a Witch.

Knowing her name will be put into the Lion’s mouth, a place checked by Guards and the Doge of Venice, she goes into hiding. Later, arriving home she explains to her father and is sent to her room. Theo helps her escape when the guards come searching for her.

A man in a mask appears and Aribella’s story truly begins. She is a Cannovacci, a protector of Venice. Her powers are revealed to her on the eve of her birthday and now she must learn to use and control them. With worrying about her father in prison, learning to cope with new powers and ghostly spectres biting people, Aribella is feeling overwhelmed. There is a lot to learn, including who can be trusted in this new environment.

Meeting new friends and discovering and using their powers to protect Venice, this story is fast paced, full of fascinations and all against the beautiful back drop of Venice. The action within this book is perfect for the city of Venice and having been there, I could picture it all happening.

I feel so honoured to have been sent a copy to read and review pre-publication and thoroughly enjoyed this story. The cover illustrations are intriguing and inviting for the reader, ensuring a sense of mystery and darkness add to the allure.

I can see this being a huge hit with fans of adventure stories with powerful girl heroines.

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