Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

The Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

Back in the time of horse-drawn carriages and gas-lit streets, tiny Sophie was found floating in a cello case next to a sinking ship nigh unto London.

With hair and eyes the color of candlelight, the baby attracted the most unlikely of guardians in Charles, a scholar with a poetic soul who is a gentleman of modest but independent means. In Katherine Rundell’s Rooftoppers, Charles raises Sophie with more love and kindness than silly rules, and all goes very happily until the day that a children’s protection agency decides that an eccentric bachelor and a jam-smeared, cart-wheeling, book fiend of a twelve-year-old girl can’t be a family even if they love each other very much.

The only chance to save Sophie from the orphanage is a mad scramble to Paris, dodging law enforcement officials along the way. Charles is willing to risk of years of imprisonment for not complying with the children’s agency because, tiny though she was, Sophie remembers her mother and is convinced she is still alive. The scent of roses and resin and strands of music are all that she personally knows about her mother.

Yet clever and kind hearts and a belief in the possible sustain them. The search goes badly, but one night an entirely new world of possibilities opens to Sophie when, confined to her room for safety, she sneaks out onto the roof by night and encounters Matteo, a rough-looking boy who has taken to the city’s dangerous rooftops to avoid being caught and hauled back to an orphanage.

Delightfully strange, daring and ultimately hopeful, Rooftoppers has a similar feel to Joan Aiken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and is a wonderful read that is hard to put down.