Scheduled to be released to book stores on May 1, 2008 by Theresa Breslin. I was fortunate enough to get a copy of the dummy proof (this means mock-up in book format but uncorrected copy) during my Internship at Random House Children’s Books UK. This title is published by Doubleday UK, one of RH’s imprints, and is geared towards youth aged 12 and up.

Melisande is the daughter of the king’s minstrel and lives among the royal French court. She, like many others, pays little heed to the dire warnings of Notradamus the soothsayer. Chantelle, Melisande’s older sister is betrothed to the handsome courtier Armand, and there is the excitement of the forthcoming wedding to think about. And Melisande is fascinated by the mysterious and silent Melchior, the boy who looks after the king’s leopard.

“Only Catherine de Medici, the king’s mother, listens to Nostradamus and fears for the life of her son. But when misfortune befalls Melisande’s family and she realises that it was predicted by Nostradamus, she turns to the soothsayer for help. Upon his death, he leaves Melisande with some papers which hold the secret of the royal line of France – it is up to her to help fulfill Nostradamus’s final prophecy but will she have the courage to do so . . .? “

I can’t comment on specific events because I read the Proof Copy and they may not have been the same in the final copy that was just released. However, I love historical fiction and it was great how Melisande’s journey and struggle was wrapped up in such a famous prophet. I think the novel had a perfect balance of fictional focus on Melisande, with just a touch of historical dwelling with Nostradamus. It was a great piece of fiction that would show a young reader different views of the world. Definitely some good plot twists and it felt like the story came full circle.

Finished: April 13, 2008

Full disclosure: I received an ARC while interning at Random House Children’s Books UK