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Up on the Roof

14 Apr


 “On the morning of its first birthday, a baby was found floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel.”

What an enticing opening line to Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell.

This is how we meet Sophie, the heroine , whom everyone believes to be an orphan. She alone believes her mother is out there somewhere. Raised in England by her quirky male guardian, Charles Maxim,  Sophie is something of a free spirit. Alas, bureaucracy has no room for free-spiritedness, or with single male guardians. When she turns twelve, bureaucrats decide  that Charles is no longer suitable guardian and Sophie would be best served by an orphanage. Of course, they flee. Fortunately, they flee to Paris where that can investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding the sinking of the boat that left Sophie floating int he English Channel. Along the way, Sophie meets real orphans who live in trees and on the rooftops of Paris.

Aside from a brilliant story, the writing is wonderful. Katherine Rundell manages to be quirky without being pretentious. In doing so she captures Sophie’s innocence and naiveté.


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