The Golden Butterfly
Sharon Gosling


The Golden Butterfly danced in the air, beautiful and impossible, yet there before their eyes. Then the Magnificent Marko flicked his wand again. There was a shower of sparks, a bang and ... the Golden Butterfly vanished. It's 1897 and since the Magnificent Marko dramatically departed the stage, no magician has come close to performing a trick as spectacular as the Golden Butterfly. With her grandfather gone, Luciana feels that the world has lost its wonder. Then the imposing leader of the Grand Society of Magicians appears, searching for something belonging to Marko, and Luciana is drawn into a world of danger and deception. As she battles to protect her grandfather's greatest legacy, can she distinguish reality from illusion? A dazzling tale of bravery and friendship in this fast-paced historical adventure for fans of Katherine Woodfine, COGHEART and THE NOWHERE EMPORIUM. "A perfectly paced and wonderfully written tale of mystery and magic... I'm sure this is a book I'll return to with great enjoyment. A fantastic read!" - Sinead O'Hart, author of THE EYE OF THE NORTH and THE STAR-SPUN WEB

Your reviews

Emily H, 11
A young girl wants to find out about her mysterious past. I love this book because Luciana is always determined to keep going and she won't be stopped. When Luciana's grandfather, The Magnificent Marko, disappears from the stage, Luciana is Determined to find out what really happened.
Jo Clarke, 9
It's 1897 and Luciana is mourning the loss of her beloved grandfather. Returning from his funeral, Luciana and her grandmother are confronted by Thursby and his mob who ransack the house in search of - what?

Luciana realises that her magician grandfather, the late, great 'Magnificent Marko' was the keeper of a much sought-after secret and she is determined to discover what it is. The Magnificent Marko was a magician unlike any other until he stopped performing with no explanation. He was also the father figure in Luciana's life, having lost both parents when she was only two. It is Marko who taught Luciana to perform mind-boggling card tricks - a skill considered to be most unladylike in an era where it was thought that women were unable to perform magic and therefore not permitted to. This injustice is a central theme to the book and Luciana is determined to prove that she is not to be held back because she is a girl.

With help from her friend Charley, the son of a housekeeper, Luciana sets out on a quest to discover the mysteries that surround her. What is it that Thursby is looking for? Why did the Magnificent Marko cease to perform so abruptly and what is the secret of 'The Golden Butterfly'? Her adventures take her to grand houses, theatres and inns. She meets many people along the way, some whom she can trust, some who set out to deceive and some who are not quite as they would seem.

Luciana is a girl who refuses to give up. She will not let anyone scare her off and she will not be defeated by the puzzles that her grandfather has set in order to secure his secret. It is a race against time and a battle of good over evil as others strive to claim 'The Golden Butterfly' before Luciana can truly understand it and all of its importance.

This is a story with many themes. We see how Luciana has fears but learns to understand and overcome them. She lives in a society full of prejudice; she is dissuaded from being friends with Charley as it is perceived that he is beneath her, but Luciana loves him like a brother and will not let society's rules dictate her friendships. It is a story of love and loss and the power of grit and determination. It is also a story that chooses to dispel the myth that girls 'can't' just because they are girls.

This is an exciting read with strong characters and a plot that twists, turns and slides into place just like one of the Magnificent Marko's puzzle boxes. It is a page turner which will appeal to readers who like adventure, mystery and intrigue. The Magnificent Marko would be proud - it's simply magical.

256 pages / Ages 9-12 years / Reviewed by Jo Clarke, teacher

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