Esme’s Wish

(10 customer reviews)

This was her last chance.
Her hand twisted high in the air.

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the actions of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about Ariane, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

Dragonfly Award Readers Favorite Award

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Book Details

Weight 295 g
Dimensions 216 × 140 mm

252 pages






Teen, Fantasy

Release date

30 October 2017




Odyssey Books

About The Author

Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth Foster read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago, when reading to her own kids reminded her of how much she missed getting lost in other worlds. Once she started writing, she never looked back. She’s at her happiest when immersed in stories, plotting new conflicts and adventures for her characters. Elizabeth lives in Sydney, where she can be found scribbling in cafés, indulging her love of both words and coffee.

10 reviews for Esme’s Wish

  1. Sarah Scheele for Readers’ Favorite

    Esme’s Wish is a captivating, excellently-written novel. Author Elizabeth Foster did a great job of keeping me reading as I followed Esme’s journey to investigate the disappearance of her mother, a brilliant painter. A messenger bird and a trail of clues in her mother’s art diary lead young Esme through a portal to the dimension of Aeolia. In Aeolia, the city of Esperance rises from an enchanted ocean. Water is the heart and soul of Aeolia’s being—and as Esme begins to discover that water is the core of her being as well, she finds clues about her mother’s doings here. But Esperance is in trouble. Earthquakes are tearing the city apart and time is running out for Esme to solve the puzzle.

    This colorful, well-constructed tale is as much detective story as fantasy and deftly blends both elements into a page-turning plot that hooks the reader in. I was fascinated by the creative water world of Aeolia, described in Elizabeth Foster’s limpid, seductive prose. As Esme learns, “The history of Aeolia is writ in water,” and I liked the elaborate, detailed spin the story took on this idea. People in Esperance can live underwater, breathe underwater, walk on water, and manipulate water, and most people are born with a special magical Gift. The world’s lushly described architecture, mythology, sirens, and dragons create the allure of being whisked away into a great adventure, and every chapter offers another piece of Aeolia to explore. Esme’s Wish ends on a bit of an abrupt note, leaving room for more tales of Esperance yet to come.

  2. Sorcha

    Utterly delightful.

    This is a book that gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. The setting is beautiful and amazingly well described. Esme, the main character in the book, is such a lovely heroine that you will grow to love in only a few chapters. She is courageous and determined, but also too independent, which makes a perfect character arc. The book has a writing style that is poetic and lyrical, enveloping you in a gentle and whimsical way. It joins my small and selective collection of ‘favourites’. I just can’t wait for the next two books! – Sorcha

  3. Fen’Harel

    When I was younger, my bookshelf was filled with books like Deltora Quest, Rowan of Rin, Warriors and other such tales. Now, Esme’s Wish joins that line up of absolutely perfect books for a teenager to read.
    Although I’m no longer a teenager, this book was fun, refreshing and an absolutely wild ride from beginning to end. I never felt bored, I never skipped pages, and I never felt confused by what was going on.
    It had a great pace and great characters. Esme is easily a likeable protagonist, and her friends that she makes are people we would easily want to be around in the real world.
    Add a dash of a mystery, dragons and magic and we have ourselves a fantastical tale ready for any age reader.
    I also found myself wondering – is this world real, or is Esme falling into a fantasy realm because she can’t cope with what’s happening in the real world? I can’t wait for the sequel so I can ponder this question a bit more!

  4. Angela Fantone

    I’m a sucker for a good fantasy. When I was offered the chance to review Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster, I knew that it would be a good match.

    Esme’s Wish tells the story of a young girl named Esme Silver, who’s mother was lost at sea. People in her small town believed that her mother was delusional for believing in a world beyond everything that exists in front of them, a world that lies beneath the waves of the sea. After her father remarries, Esme soon discovers what it was her mother was searching for.

    This is exactly the kind of story I’ve looked for in every book I’ve read as a child. Esme is a strong heroine that not only saves the day but is admirable for facing the different emotions thrown at her as her life changes. The connection between mother and daughter is strong, and that’s what the book centers on. It’s that bond with her mother that sets Esme on this fantastical journey.

    Grief is a very strong element in this story, and watching both Esme and her father deal with their grief so differently sets so much of the mood throughout the story. Esme’s father already remarries by the beginning of the story, and while that is a perfectly valid choice, it almost seems as though he hasn’t truly helped his daughter move on. The woman he remarries is rather selfish in my opinion and tries so hard to take over their lives. That is why Esme’s journey is pivotal because it immerses her in her mother’s world and makes it easy for her to cope with the loss in the end.

    Esme’s Wish is your classic fantasy coming-of-age that middle age readers will enjoy. It’s clever heroine, fast plot, and beautiful fantasy world combines the otherworldly and the familiar that reminds us experienced readers why we fell in love with reading in the first place.

  5. Tonja Drecker

    Magic, adventure, and beautiful writing make this a book to sink into and never leave.

    Esme is anything but thrilled by her father’s choice as he remarries, especially since the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of her mother a few years before are still unclear. Well, at least in her mind. Everyone else wants her to let go, but she can’t. When she sneaks away from the ever tightening choke hold her new life has placed on her and ventures to the vacation cabin her mother loved to visit, she ends up following a strange behaving bird down to the beach. One slip and she finds herself tugged underwater into the strange world her mother told her about, but Esme was convinced existed only as fantasy. And now, her adventure really begins.

    The first pages dive head first into Esme’s unfortunate situation. It takes a second to settle into what’s going on, but the story takes off from there. The author does a fantastic job at building subtle tension and mystery. It quickly becomes clear that something isn’t right and that Esme’s unwillingness to let go of her mother’s memory probably isn’t due to stubbornness. But the reasons behind this as well as the clear recognition are left in a mysterious haze, creating the perfect tension and opening up to the upcoming adventure.

    Fantasy and imagination take flight in these pages—something I adore in middle grade novels. The descriptions are vivid yet never overwhelm. There’s a great balance of familiarity and fantasy, which allows the reader to feel right at home while confronting wondrous creatures such as dragons. Esme’s determined and kind, yet a little unsure. She fits the age group well and is easy to relate to. Those around her have distinct personalities and the relationships (good and bad) are fun to root for. Add the exciting world, dabs at Greek mythology and an adventure to keep the reader on the edge of the seat, and it’s simply a wonderful read.

    The ending rounds things off nicely while still allowing a few open doors to the rest of the series—ones that promise more adventure and fun.

  6. Jeane Grimbeek

    I can quite honestly say that I was blown away by Elizabeth Foster’s first novel. I couldn’t bring myself to put it down for a second. The excellent writing lends itself to the narrative along with the fantastic world of Aeolia and the city of Esperance with the elements of its magic, lore, history, locations, inhabitants (both human and creatures – dragons!) being well crafted and executed with its Venice inspired location and Greek inspired mythologies.

    Not to even mention the lovable main characters (and friends) of Esme, Daniel and Lillian – each written very well with their own personalities. I absolutely adored their friendship and how it helped Esme open herself up to accept help and rely on others.

    Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, magic, fantastic
    magical locations, or magical creatures (dragons!). Or all of the above.

    I’m really looking forward to reading the next chapter in Esme’s adventures.

  7. AV, Italy

    A vivid , dreamy fairy tale complete with wicked stepmothers, the mystery of a missing mother to unveil, a determined heroine, a spellbinding parallel world populated of magic users and enchanting or terrifying creatures, friendship and a mysterious family legacy.

    I loved Aeolia and I look forward coming back there!

  8. Elisa

    I am really glad to chance upon this book as this fantasy world is very well-constructed and is the sort of fantasy I like to read. I’m now a fan and will be following Esme’s adventures in Aeolia in subsequent books. The author gives information in bits and pieces which made me want to find out more and it was difficult to put the book down. There is also good character development; Esme learns to deal with loss and unprocessed grief, trust issues and growing up. She found that she didn’t need to bear all her worries and burdens on her own and that she could share these with her friends without fear of rejection.

  9. Elaine

    I can certainly see why this is an award winning fantasy – it is a delightful read that takes the reader into the story alongside fifteen-year-old Esme Silver and off on the adventures with her… This is a well paced story with plenty of mystery, magic and intrigue that will appeal to fantasy readers whatever their age. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and learning about the strange creatures and wonderful characters in both worlds and can’t wait to read more about what happens to Esme in future. The writing flows smoothly, taking the reader along with it in a page turner adventure that I believe will appeal to able readers who enjoy more lengthy stories. It is definitely a great story for teachers or parents to share with children and I highly recommend them checking it out, too.

  10. Tilly @ The Biblioshelf

    Esperance is such a beautifully crafted world to lose my bookish mind in. The waterways and canals winding through the city instantly made me reminisce about one of my favourite holidays spent in Venice, Italy. I’m also a huge fan of any worlds where water is a feature. The frequent references to fountains, sea portals, caves, sirens and sea hawks made me put this world firmly on my fictional travels bucket list.

    Esme is quite a young character and her emotions are clearly laid out for the reader to see. You witness her turmoil over the loss of her mother and also her anger at her father for remarrying and beginning a new life. As the story progresses, Esme’s determination and resilience grow alongside the plot and it was nice to see those rites of passage elements in the story as Esme branches off on her mission to discover what happened to her mother. I enjoyed the way her friendships and personality grew throughout the story as she left her world and travelled into the magical world of Esperance.

    Mythology and magic run strongly throughout the whole story and I loved picking out those mythology-inspired references which were woven throughout. The book features brilliant creatures such as sirens, stygians and dragons! I really enjoyed the character Augustine who is a keeper of magic – he added a quirky wizard-like dimension to the story with a diviner rod named Willow which reminded me of Dr. Strange’s Cape in some crazy way that the keeper and his diviner are pretty much a team but the objects are sentient and have a mind of their own.

    The story itself is pretty much a quest which is based on a number of clues leading from one to the next, gradually unravelling the story. Whilst in my adult head I was expecting and predicting that some of these would happen, my teacher head was thinking about how perfect this book would be for some of my more reluctant readers and students. Descriptions and vocabulary are on point in this. Vocabulary is such a buzz-word in the teaching world now as children are exposed to fewer words and this has a massive impact upon their reading and writing progress. Esme’s Wish is such a brilliant book to try and inspire this love of words as it is littered with so many wonderful ones and as a logophile myself, this was one of my favourite aspects of the writing.

    Esme’s Wish is perfect for the Middle Grade age range and those who are starting out to explore the fantasy genre. Equally, if you’re an adult who loves your mythological references or fantasy islands filled with fountains, seas, magical portals and dragons then this could also be the perfect book for you to escape into a light yet welcoming fantasy world.

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