‘The Star-Spun Web,’ by Sinéad O’Hart, cover by Sara Mulvanny.

An orphan girl, a wealthy stranger and many alternate realities….


Tess De Sousa has grown up in Ackerbee’s Home for Lost and Foundlings, but with her passion for scientific experimentation and pet tarantula, Violet, Tess is not your average orphan.  Her arrival at the home was shrouded in mystery – left on the doorstep with a bundle of strange currency and a small cylindrical star-emblazoned device which nobody can fathom.

A visit to the home from a suspicious-looking stranger claiming to be her distant relation signals the beginning of a series of events which may just enable Tess to unravel the secrets of her past and, possibly, multiple universes.  But others will stop at nothing to steal those secrets from her.

I loved Sinéad’s debut novel, ‘The Eye of the North,’ so had been eagerly anticipating her next title. When I first caught a glimpse of the cover, I knew ‘The Star-Spun Web’ was going to be infused with the same levels of adventure, friendship and wonder.

Tess, as a main character, is someone you can root for. She’s inquisitive, determined,  bold and brave.  Her quest for new scientific knowledge and methodical approach make her an excellent role model for budding Einsteins, whilst her love and loyalty for her Ackerbee’s family is a lesson for us all.

As soon as I started reading, I was gripped. I could easily have read this in one sitting, were it not for the interruptions from my children! The plot kept moving at pace but not at the expense of clear explanations of what was  meant by the concept of parallel universes and a cataclysmic event which could be felt rippling through them all.  There was also time for some nice touches of anarchy to lighten the mood when things got tense and an exploration of ‘upstairs-downstsirs’ relationships.

A fizzing multi-dimensional adventure with mortal peril, a brilliant main character and a pet tarantula who almost made me like spiders!

Library Girl.

*Many thanks to Stripes Books for sending me this title to review*




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