The Magician's Doll
by M. L. Roble
The Magician's Doll by M. L. Roble is recommended for children aged 10 and up. The author is currently at work on the sequel. This book blast and giveaway is brought to you by Mother Daughter Book Promotions.
"They are stronger. They are coming. They will arrive!"
Life would be so much better for twelve-year-old Natalie if she and her mother weren’t different; other kids wouldn’t pick on her; she wouldn’t have to get into fights.
She would have friends.
But Natalie has abilities that set her apart, and despite her very best efforts to have a normal life, her developing “gift” has a way of upending them all.
Then one day a big top circus rolls into town bringing with it Beausoleil the Magician, his daughter Louisa, and his mysterious doll. Strange things are afoot with Beausoleil’s arrival, and in his wake, an eerie storm is approaching. Soon Natalie discovers there is more to her world and the people around her than she knew, and that being different is just the tip of the iceberg...
The Magician's Doll sparks readers’ imaginations with a tale of magical discoveries, profound friendships, a fight against evil, and the growth that comes with facing your fears and accepting who you are.
Mr. Mackey gave the key a final twist in the lock. After a long day at work in the soda shop, he was ready to go home. He tucked the pint of ice cream he was carrying under his arm more securely. His wife had made her delicious home-baked apple pie and had asked for the extra creamy vanilla-bean-flavored ice cream for the crowning touch. Mr. Mackey was only too happy to oblige. His wife’s apple pie was one of his life’s greatest pleasures.
The night air stung his cheeks, but Mr. Mackey wrapped his scarf tight around his neck and started his trek home. Fall evenings had become chilly this month, but it was not yet cold enough for snow. Good thing too, with the storms around the area, Mr. Mackey thought. It would not be pleasant to have rain storms turn into blizzards. It would interfere with his walk home, and he enjoyed using the stroll to unwind after his workday.
As he made his way down the street, he noticed that the light on the corner was out, and that a figure waited under it. Strange, thought Mr. Mackey, no bus stops there. He made out someone tall, but not much else.
“Hello, Sir,” the figure said, as Mr. Mackey approached. It was a man who spoke, but he made no move to come into the lighter section of the street where Mr. Mackey could see him better.
“Good evening,” Mr. Mackey replied. “It’s gotten a bit chilly out, hasn’t it?” He squinted to see if he recognized the man, but the shadows hid him.
“It has,” the stranger agreed. “You all seem to be having an unusual fall out here.”
“I suspect it has to do with the storms in the area,” Mr. Mackey said. “I suppose you’ve heard of them?”
“Yes, they are quite the news nowadays, aren’t they? They don’t seem to be affecting this town, though.”
“I guess we’re having a bit of luck,” Mr. Mackey said. “I take it you’re not from around here, then?”
“No,” the stranger said, “I’m not. I found myself here by accident.”
“This town, it slides under the radar, don’t you think?” The stranger’s tone was conversational, but there was something else to it that made Mr. Mackey feel like the stranger was not really having a conversation at all.
“It’s almost too easy to miss,” the stranger continued. “It slips out from under you unless you really want to find it.”
“I’m not sure I know what you’re talking about,” Mr. Mackey said.
“No, I don’t believe you do.” The man took one step towards him. Mr. Mackey did not want to be impolite, but he instinctively took a step back.
“I’ve noticed that about the people who live here as well,” the stranger continued. “There’s something about you all that I, literally, cannot wrap my mind around. I should be able to read you, see everything about you, but,” the man made a motion with his hands as if he was grasping at empty air, “you all seem just beyond my grasp.”
A cold that was not a part of the fall air filled Mr. Mackey. He glanced around, but the street was empty. He had stayed at the soda shop later than usual, and everyone else had gone home.
“If you’ll excuse me, I should be getting home now.” Mr. Mackey backed away from the man.
“Have I made you uncomfortable?” the stranger asked. “I apologize. I just didn’t expect to encounter such a puzzle here.”
“What are you looking for?” Mr. Mackey asked.
The man paused. As the silence stretched, Mr. Mackey wondered if he should take the opportunity to hurry on home. But then a strange feeling stole into him. It was like fingers tickling along his skin, ruffling through his hair and burrowing into his head.
The ice cream he was holding dropped to the ground. He tried to move, but his limbs would not listen.
“You know,” the man said softly, “I am actually not too sure you can help me. I don’t think you know anything about what I am looking for. And yet there is something about you…it’s maddening!”
The man’s head moved then, as if he noticed something on Mr. Mackey. He took another step towards him, but not enough to pull him out of the shadows.
“Your scarf,” he mused. “There’s something about your scarf. Where did you get it?”
“One of our local stores.” If Mr. Mackey could have moved his limbs, they would have shaken from fright.
“Does everyone shop there?”
“Yes, pretty much.”
Again the man was silent.
“I’d like to leave, please,” Mr. Mackey pleaded.
“Who owns this store?” the man asked.
Mr. Mackey hesitated. What if this man tried to visit Janet Stone? He could not send him to her.
The man stepped closer. Mr. Mackey stood captive.
“No answer for me? What’s the name of the store?”
Mr. Mackey did not answer. Heaven help me, he thought.
The man sighed. “This makes it hard. It should have been easy to come in here and find out what I needed, but now I’m going to have to do some more work, and not all of it pleasant. Now,” the man said, his voice growing hard, “I’m going to give you a chance to tell me what I need to know, before I start moving on to other methods. From which store did you buy the scarf, and who is the owner?”
Mr. Mackey closed his eyes. His heart sank. He sent a silent apology to his wife for not making it home with her ice cream. His eyes opened in time to see a hand reach for his scarf. He heard a roaring snap, and a bright light blinded him. He opened his mouth to scream, but then the world went black.
"The story of exceptional and gifted beings secretly living among us is timeless; this exhilarating book is an impressive treatment of that classic storyline. The writing is fast and clear, with a well-developed plot and perfect buildup of action and suspense." ~ 5 Star Review, G. Wagner, Amazon
"This is perfect for kids of the middle grade age. It forces them to look at the way they treat each other and their differences. It makes them look at what true friendship is and what they would do in certain circumstances. I am sure this book was written to be a wonderful story, yet I find it is a great example of teaching kids something without them realizing they are learning I will definitely continue to recommend this book to parents and students." ~ 5 Star Review, Sandra S., Amazon
"I am a eighth grader, and was told to read this book by a friend. I am a huge fan of fantasy and magic, and thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found it well thought through with colorful characters from a variety of backgrounds. The concepts and ideas are fresh and interesting, I especially enjoyed the idea of travel through maps, like Phillipe. I would DEFINITELY recommend this book to all my friends, and will do so as soon as possible." ~ 5 Star Review, Eugenia, Amazon
About the Author
M. L. Roble's desire to write a children's novel stems from the nostalgia of her own middle grade reading years where she first experienced books like The Chronicles of Narnia and The Shattered Stone. There have been different books and genres since, but those years fueled an enchantment for story that continues to this day.
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