Why would a serving girl ever have contact with a prince? In historical fantasy worlds such as the one in Diane Stanley’s The Silver Bowl, the separation of the classes follows that of medieval Europe, and no prince would ever have meaningful conversations with the servants. So it’s unusual that Stanley has derived a story that allows interaction between the classes, and realistically so.

Molly is from a large, poor family, which includes a “crazy” mother and an unloving father. As soon as possible, her father sends her to work in the castle, but Molly is glad to go and leave her unhappy home behind. Her life in the castle is conventional; she watches the royal family from afar and makes friends with other servants. When she is taught to clean the silver, however, she discovers that she can hear a voice in her head and see visions whenever she is set to work on a great silver bowl.

The voice tells her that the royal family is in danger. Molly cannot tell anyone in charge what she knows for fear of being thought crazy herself, so she enlists the help of her one good friend, Tobias. When they are able to rescue the youngest prince from an attempt on his life, Molly and Tobias quickly become embroiled in keeping him safe. The prince learns to trust Molly and relies on her to help him resolve his fate.

Stanley has created a delightful story that is both fantastical and completely believable at the same time. The plot contains several twists that are nicely unexpected, including a most unusual battle scene. While both boys and girls would enjoy this book, most fifth and sixth grade girls will love it.

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