Title: The Water Castle
Author: Megan Frazer Blakemore
First published January 1, 2013
344 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9780802728395 (ISBN10: 0802728391)
When Ephraim Appledore-Smith moves with his family to the Water Castle, he has no idea that his life is about to change forever. The Fountain of Youth, a legendary treasure hidden on the estate, becomes the focus of his attention when his father falls ill.
Mallory Green, one of the caretakers of the castle, and Will Wylie, a member of a rival family, join Ephraim on a quest to find the Fountain. As they embark on this journey, they discover secrets that blur the lines between magic and science, and creativity and discovery.
The Water Castle is a book that will leave you pondering the impossible.
About the Author
Megan Frazer Blakemore writes books for kids and teens. She lives in Maine with her family and has experience working in school and public libraries.
Right now, she’s studying to get her doctorate in library science at Simmons SLIS.
Megan Frazer Blakemore’s The Water Castle is a charming middle-grade novel that deftly blends mystery, history, and family drama with an atmospheric setting and heartwarming characters. Published on January 1, 2013, the book is a recipient of several accolades, including the Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year and the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award Nominee.
The story is set in the idyllic town of Crystal Springs, Maine, where the prestigious Blandford family resides in a sprawling castle on the lake. The Blandfords, who have been plagued by a genetic condition known as Atwater-Rhodes Syndrome, are searching for a cure to save their youngest member, Elias.
When three children, Ephraim, Mallory, and Will, arrive at the castle to spend the summer with their grandfather, they are drawn into the Blandford’s quest, uncovering a series of secrets that have been hidden within the walls of the castle for generations. Blakemore’s writing is crisp, evocative, and filled with vivid descriptions that bring the castle, the lake, and the town to life.
The characters are well-drawn and relatable, and each of them has their own distinct voice and motivations that drive the plot forward. The Blandfords, especially, are a fascinating and tragic family, with their obsession with preserving their legacy and their struggle with illness and mortality.
The Water Castle touches on several themes such as family, legacy, science, history, and community. The book is also a celebration of curiosity, imagination, and the power of friendship to overcome adversity.
At its core, the novel asks the question of what it means to be human and what legacy we leave behind. However, the pacing of the book can be slow at times, especially when the focus of the story shifts to historical flashbacks that provide exposition and backstory.
Additionally, some of the plot twists and revelations, while clever and unexpected, feel a bit far-fetched and contrived. Overall, The Water Castle is a delightful read that combines mystery, adventure, and heart.
It will appeal to middle-grade readers who enjoy stories with a touch of magic, history, and science. It is also recommended for parents and teachers who are looking for a thought-provoking and engaging book to share with their children.
As the Washington Post has aptly put it, “The Water Castle invites readers to dive into a world of mystery, wonder and plenty of heart.” We give this novel a 4 out of 5 stars rating.