The Adventures of Josephine Mary Cresswell is a trilogy of adventurous and imaginative books that I’ve loved & loved & loved for years. The long-awaited finale, ‘In Search of the Tarasque’ releases this week!
‘In Search of the Tarasque’ welcomes us back into the world of Josephine Mary Cresswell: Coromandel, New Zealand in the 1950’s. We revisit all the familiar locations, such as Aunt Jenny’s cottage, the goldmines, and Elephant Rock. However, the story isn’t contained to the one location this time. Josephine desperately wants to be officially adopted, but for that she needs to find out what happened to her parents during the war. Not much is known about them… but one clue leads to another, and Jo embarks on a whirlwind adventure through Europe.
Josephine’s identity has always been a focus of the series. From the first pages of ‘Danger at Devil’s Cove’ where she learns of her mother’s sudden death, Josephine has been searching for her place in the world. She’s learnt pieces of her history, but the full story has remained mysterious. Though she’s gained many friends through her adventures, she fears that she’ll never feel like she’s truly wanted. This internal conflict is woven through the plot, with each branch of the mystery playing into a different part of her identity. And it all comes to a beautiful resolution.
But this story is more than just meaningful. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed adventure. The intricate mystery keeps you on your toes with its many twists. Some familiar unfriendly faces return, and old mysteries you thought were solved turn out to have more to them! It’s a fun ride. The magical elements are charming, with the return of my personal favourite character Mr Truffles, and different mythology brought to life.
The Josephine Mary Cresswell books have shades of Famous Five and Nancy Drew with their engaging mysteries and bright heroine, but the story stands as a unique portrayal of life in 1950’s New Zealand. The small details and descriptions build an atmospheric and immersive setting, the kind that takes you from where you’re sitting and transports you into the story. You’re right there trekking through the bush, feeling the ocean air, tasting Mrs Jones’ homemade lemonade. Not to mention all the sneaking around, running from baddies, and uncovering evil plots! ‘In Search of the Tarasque’ captures all the magic of the trilogy and ties off the story in an exciting and satisfying conclusion.
This is a great read for kids aged 10+, as well as adults. Buy yourself a copy here!