Storm Glass - Jeff Wheeler
This book is written in the young adult fantasy genre, intriguingly imaginative. Its world is one of two distinct classes - the poor live in desperate conditions in cities on the ground, while the rich inhabit magnificent floating estates in the sky. It is common for parents to sell their young children into slavery to pay off their debts. Cettie is one such child, now aged fourteen, living in the slums of the Fells. Her miserable existence is compounded by her unique ability to see frightening ghosts. A chance encounter brings her face to face with kindly Vice Admiral Fitzroy, who at her request takes her into his household as his ward. The other heroine is Sera, a sheltered girl from the royal family, who longs to know more about the real world. Her life becomes even more regulated when her father becomes Regent, but her escapades as she tries to break free rouse his enmity. As the two girls strive to escape the bounds of their class, they experience enlightening education, and meet friends and foes. It's the first book in a series, and I've already bought the next novel to discover how the lives of the two heroines unfold.
The Glovemaker's Daughter - Leah Fleming
A sensitive novel, exploring the life of a young Quaker in Restoration times. Told as if written in a journal by the heroine, she is born in 1666 amidst hardship and persecution. Named Rejoice by her parents, she's orphaned within days. Growing up in an austere and devout rural community, Joy, as she becomes known, finds that she is fascinated by the ordinary world outside. This is fuelled by the exquisite gloves bequeathed to her. These were sent to her mother, a former glovemaker, by her mother-in-law as a sign of reconciliation. Intelligent and curious, Joy spends some time in the house of her grandfather the Judge, and is attracted to the housekeeper's handsome son. But eventually she returns to her faith, and voyages with her people to America. There she finds her loyalties again torn between the those who share her own faith, and the outside world. Where will her heart find rest?