Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

I'm always particularly intrigued when a friend who isn't a Reader (capital R, there, as in someone like me who is constantly, constantly thinking about writing and stories - mine and everyone else's, and reading whenever possible) recommends a book to me. They often tend to have a lower threshold for sticking with a novel if it's not engaging them, and so I like it when they recommend something they loved. 

I suspect that another motivation for recommending this to me was the element of cellos in the story - I've been (somewhat dismally, these days) messing around with a cello the last couple of years. 

 photo sourced from The Times UK

photo sourced from The Times UK

What a lovely, fantastical tale this is. It reminds of classics like A Little Princess, building a warm and magical-seeming world without actually delving into fantasy. I suspect this novel is appropriate for readers of an age who would also enjoy Little, though I adored it as an adult as well. 

Sophie has the most amazing guardian/adopted parent ever created and because of this, the authorities in London are going to take her away from him because of the horrors inherit in a girl living with a man who allows her to wear trousers and think for herself. 

Sophie remembers shreds of the mother she lost when she was only one year old and is convinced she's still alive. Under threat of being taken away from her guardian, Charles, and with his confidence in what she believes, they head off to Paris. There, Sophie meets the proud and almost mystical children who live above everyone else - on the roofs of Paris. 

"Muscles, she thought, are a thing worth having. They make the world easier to reach."

Rooftoppers was a bit of a diversion for me and one I'm happy to have explored. Will certainly be reading Rundell again.