Review: T.S. Livingston and the Mystery at Madame Molineaux’s (T.S. Livingston #1) by Violet Selborne

Review: T.S. Livingston and the Mystery at Madame Molineaux’s (T.S. Livingston #1) by Violet SelborneT. S. Livingston and the Mystery at Madame Molineaux's by Violet Selborne
Series: T.S. Livingston #1
Published by Panifex Press, LLC on July 25, 2014
Goodreads |

Twin sisters Maddie and Jo Livingston have spent their lives traveling the world with their famous archaeologist parents. But when the Livingstons’ work takes them on a mysterious year-long excavation in Siberia, much too dangerous for two twelve-year-old girls, Maddie and Jo are whisked off to a castle in Switzerland, where they find themselves piecing together a mystery of their own. 

Madame Molineaux’s School for Girls is filled with interesting students and professors from all over Europe. But it doesn’t take long for the girls to figure out that this is no ordinary boarding school: bizarre animals, hidden tapestries, secret tunnels, and a long list of unanswered questions keep Maddie, Jo, and their new friends searching for clues around every corner. Where is that snotty Mary Spivey going when she sneaks out of her dormitory at night? What secret is their beloved headmistress is trying to protect? Who is concealing treasures in the unlikeliest of hiding places? The girls must put all these strange pieces together to discover the staggering truth—and to save their school before Madame Molineaux’s closes its doors—for good! 

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

T.S. Livingston and the Mystery at Madame Molineaux’s is a fantastic middle-grade novel. It focuses on an all-girl’s boarding school in Switzerland. It reminds me of Hogwarts … only all girls and no magic. Just trust me on this. There are secrets and interesting things to discover at Madame Molineaux’s. There are goats living on roofs protected by a dog named Albert, tunnels that run under the school, some hybrid big cats (I need one), professors to hate, a headmistress to love, and a mystery to solve.

More importantly, the novel is about smart, strong, brave girls. There is an entire school full of them. Maddie and Jo are the kind of characters that girls need to read about. Even though they are twins, they aren’t carbon copies of each other. They have their own unique personalities and are not afraid to strike out on their own when the need arises. Selborne creates a cast of supporting characters who spend an equal amount of time propping up Maddie and Jo’s story while simultaneously showing the value of kindness, friendship, and camaraderie that all girls should have with each other. Of course, there is a catty character that butts heads with them all and of course the younger girls are sometimes teased by the older girls in school, but generally, Maddie, Jo, Francoise, Val, Nixie, Millie, and Estelle exemplify the kind of relationships young girls need. I found it all positive and refreshing.

Selborne leaves enough room at the end of the novel for more books. I believe she has 6 planned in the series. I especially want to know the story behind the mysterious backer of the Siberian dig that Maddie and Jo’s parents run. Something smells fishy. I can’t wait to find out what happens next. But, I’m mostly looking forward to reading more about Maddie and Jo in their next year at Madame Molineaux’s. I also want to find out more about this school for boys across the lake. As curious as Maddie and Jo are, I’m sure they’ll find plenty of mysteries to solve next year.

The pacing is fantastic and the plot well thought out. I didn’t figure out the mystery early. In the end, T.S. Livingston and the Mystery at Madame Molineaux’s is an absolutely delightful read. Violet Selborne really has her thumb on the pulse of what it means to be a self-published author, though I certainly believe this story is worthy of any large publishing house. Her dedication to her book shows from cover to cover. It has been professionally edited and illustrated. I get a lot of shoddy workmanship from authors who self-publish. Selborne is a gem. Authors like her are the reason why I keep accepting self-published books for review. Bravo.

five-stars

© 2014, Jessica Workman Holland. All rights reserved.