Thursday, August 31, 2023

The Restorationists: Beneath the Swirling Sky

The Restorationists is a new middle-grade fantasy series penned by Carolyn Leiloglou. Siblings Vincent (named after Vincent van Gogh) and Lili (named after Lilias Trotter) are visiting their great-uncle Leo over spring break while their parents are on a cruise. Leo is an art conservationist and Vincent is convinced that his mother has arranged for him to "encourage" Vincent to paint. But Vincent wants nothing to do with art. When they arrive and meet Georgia, they are shocked to learn that she is their second cousin. As Vincent steps into Leo's house, he quickly realizes that avoiding art is going to be harder than he thought because every square inch of wall space seems to be bursting with art. 

As Vincent and Lili were shown around, they were curious about areas that seemed to be "off limits." When Lili later goes missing, Georgia reluctantly explains that their families have the ability to travel through paintings. It's up to Vincent and Georgia to go after Lili and bring her safely home. Easier said than done. As Vincent is trying to wrap his mind around the whole alternate-world-within-a-painting scenario, Georgia is doing her best to explain how things work while also explaining how people have various giftings. Vincent realizes that everything he once believed about his life was only half-true. His parents had kept this whole Travel idea secret and now his ignorance may cost his sister her life!

There are enemies at work wanting to steal and destroy the greatest works of art. And the enemy is employing kidnapped children to do the dirty work--marring and distorting works of art. Youngsters are held in suspense wondering if Lili will be rescued and whether the evil mastermind behind stolen or vandalized art will ever come to justice. This would make a delightful read-aloud at home or at school. Children will learn a great deal about famous artists and their works (and the author includes a list of works referenced so that readers can research more about each. What a great way to experience art in a fresh way!  I highly recommend this imaginative story with its allegorical elements and look forward to future books within the series!

If you'd like to engage more with the author, check out her website and discover more about this title and her others. You can also read a sample of the first chapter!  This book can be pre-ordered prior to its release on September 12, 2023.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of Beneath a Swirling Sky from NetGalley for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received and the opinions expressed are my own. 

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