The Forbidden Orchid
By Sharon Biggs Waller
Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016. 416 pgs. Young Adult
Elodie Buchanon lives in a small English village, where she cares for her frail mother and nine younger sisters. Her father, a famous naturalist, spends most of the year exploring the globe in search of rare flowers. Elodie shares his passion for botany and adventure, but Victorian society demands that she remain at home and give up her interest in orchids. When her father refuses to return to his family after a mysterious tragedy, Elodie embarks on a journey that takes her around the world to save him.
Maybe I’ve just been in a good reading mood lately, but I really enjoyed The Forbidden Orchid. I had a little trouble getting into it at first, but once I switched from the print version to the audiobook, it was smooth sailing. Elodie is a likeable character who is an interesting mix of traditional and adventurous, and I felt like reader Katherine McEwan was a great choice for her voice. I enjoyed watching Elodie grow throughout the story, and I was fascinated by the thorough historical detail about nineteenth century China and England. A leisurely-paced but interesting YA historical novel from the author of A Mad, Wicked Folly.