Jaclyn Moriarty: The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone (Guppy Books 2019)
Jaclyn Moriarty: The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars (Guppy Books 2020)
Australian writer Jaclyn Moriarty spent her childhood in Sydney with her four sisters and one brother and they all loved to invent stories. Her two sisters later also became writers, of whom Liane Moriarty is best known for her novel Big Little Lies. Jaclyn Moriarty wrote her first novel at the age of seven and was an Enid Blyton adaptation. Later, however, she realized that even if she wanted to be a writer, she had to get a “real” job first, so she studied English in Sydney, where she wrote her dissertation on Roald Dahl’s work, and then studied law and enjoyed it so much that she got her Master’s degree from Yale. Then completed her PhD in Cambridge. She wrote her first novel here, which, after many attempts, was eventually published at home in Australia with the help of another famous writer, Garth Nix. She wrote many of her books about and for young adults. The stories of Bronte Mettlestone (Kingdoms and Empires) is her first middle grade series.
Bronte Mettlestone was 10 years old when she found out her parents had been killed by pirates. However, she was not very sad at all. Her parents were only a photo for her, which her aunt was keeping on the mantelpiece. Aunt Isabelle was the eldest sister of Bronte’s father and took the girl as a baby when her parents set out on their adventures. Now, however, in their will, they instructed Bronte to travel to her other 10 aunts and deliver them presents all over the kingdoms and empires, all by herself. So, the little girl sets off and has no idea what adventures await her on the road.
The second volume of the series takes place more than 10 years before the first. The outbreak of the Whispering Wars and the first few months can be watched from the perspective of two children – Finlay in the orphanage and Honey Bee, an elite boarding school student. The kids and their friends first meet at a local athletics competition and immediately begin to hate each other. Meanwhile, children from several kingdoms and empires are disappearing without a trace. To solve the mystery, the enemy kids have to get together. Even Bronte shows up to help…
The series is not made up of closely related stories, but it takes place in the same world and features the same characters. In the next book, Bronte’s cousins have to investigate the case of the stolen prince of Cloudburst. In the fourth volume of the series, Oscar from Elsewhere, the ordinary boy has to depart on a quest in a world that can’t be called ordinary at all – in Bronte’s world. Who knows what is going to happen?
The books are featured in various illustrations in Australia, the UK and the US: for example the British edition is illustrated with drawings by Karl James Mountford.