The Rose series continues to delight me (and other readers, I'm sure). Rose and the others from Mr. Fountain's household have returned from their trip to Venice, bringing the magician Miss Fell with them. Hepzibah Fell has consented to live as a guest of Mr. Fountain and help him to train Rose, Freddie, and Bella in magic. The help is needed since Bella has driven off another governess and Mr Fountain is often at the palace advising the king about the looming war with the Talish Empire. Rose is not very happy when Miss Fell insists that Rose must become a full-time apprentice and young lady and give up her position as a housemaid. Mr. Fountain had agreed to let Rose continue her housekeeping duties along with her magical studies, but the older lady is determined that Rose will be treated as a proper young lady and have etiquette lessons along with Bella.
Rose suspects that Miss Fell may know about her parents. Everything about them is a mystery since Rose was found abandoned in a churchyard as an infant and had been raised in an orphanage until she was hired as Mr. Fountain's maid. Some remarks Miss Fell made when they met in Venice, and her willingness to relocate to London with Mr. Fountain and the children seem to prove Rose is right. In the midst of the rising possibility of an invasion by the Talish forces, Rose and the other apprentices (along with Mr. Fountain's cat, Gus), do their best to uncover the mysteries of Rose's past.
I love so many of the elements in this series: the setting in a Dickens style London; Rose herself with her practical outlook on life amid all the magical people and happenings; Gus with his penchant for lobster; the steadfast stable boy Bill; it all comes together to create an enchanting story (pun intended). A great book for middle grade readers who enjoy fantasy with resourceful young protagonists.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.