The Ballad of Melodie Rose
224pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99
When Melodie Rose is abandoned on the doorstep of Direleafe Hall with just a note pinned to her coat, she realises she must be a ghost. Her memories have vanished and her past is dim, but strangely, she is not sad. With the three other ghostly girls Florence, Lucy and Nell who also haunt the school and Hollowbeak, the gloomy crow on her shoulder, Melodie has never felt more at peace. Finally, she has a place to call home.
But just as she is finding her place and coming to terms with the past, a Lady in White arrives with plans to flatten the beloved school Melodie Rose must act fast to save all she holds dear. But what can one powerless ghost do? How can her new friends and Hollowbeak help?
This is the second in this series for younger independent readers, a companion to The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn. a CBCA 2021 Notable, yet, at the same time, it is a stand-alone story. Like its predecessor, it is a gentle ghost story, sensitive and poignant and beautifully written with a focus on being true to oneself, and having the courage to do what you know must be done even if it is scary.
Again Gordon has selected vocabulary and painted pictures superbly so that the story becomes alive in the mind, even for those who are only just venturing into this genre. Rather than being scary, it celebrates kindness, love and friendship, and grief becomes just another one of the normal human emotions. For those who are in its midst, there is understanding and hope embedded in Melodie’s continued optimism and strength to keep on trying. The use of the word “ballad” in the title is entirely appropriate.
One to recommend for those who want something that wraps around them.