A Jane Austen-inspired YA tale from Mechthild Gläser (The Book Jumper) about a sixteen-year-old girl who finds a magical bookand discovers that anything she writes inside it comes true
Emma is used to things going her way. Her father is headmaster of her prestigious boarding school, her friends take her advice as gospel, and she's convinced that a relationship with her long-time crush is on the horizon.
As it turns out, Emma hasn't seen anything yet. When she finds an old book in an abandoned library, things really start going Emma's way: anything she writes in the book comes true.
But the power of the book is not without consequences, and Emma soon realizes that she isn't the only one who knows about it. Someone is determined to take it from herand they'll stop at nothing to succeed.
A new boy in schoolthe arrogant, aloof, and irritatingly handsome Darcy de Winterbecomes Emma's unlikely ally as secrets are revealed and danger creeps ever closer.
Praise for The Forgotten Book:
"This is a satisfying blend of gothic mystery, supernatural intrigue, and boarding-school drama, sure to thrill readers who believe that books hold the best magic." Booklist
"Mystery, magic, and danger jostle together in this romantic fantasy with its well-described gothic setting of monastic ruins and secret passages." VOYA
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Mechthild Gläser is an award-winning author in her native Germany. The Book Jumper was her first book to be translated into English.
Read an Excerpt
It is a truth universally acknowledged that returning home after a long absence is one of the best feelings in the world. That's how I felt, anyway, when I arrived back at Stolzenburg one rainy Friday afternoon to find the keep swathed in fog and the castle courtyard gray in the hazy afternoon light. It was unusually cold for August.
Nevertheless I stood for a long moment outside the double entrance doors, closed my eyes, and breathed the smell of wet, age-old masonry deep into my lungs. Raindrops splashed down onto my face like a blustery welcoming committee, while the wind tugged at my ponytail as if trying to get it to dance.
At last! I was home at last!
This was the place I'd called home for the past four years, at any rate: the first place I'd ever known that felt like a real home. I spread my arms wide and was about to spin on the spot for joy when I heard the noise of an approaching car and decided against it.
Through the gate came a gleaming black limousine, and out of it stepped Helena von Stein (the best student in my class, and currently head girl). She wafted toward me, opening an elegant umbrella.
I let my arms fall back to my sides.
"Emma." Helena eyed my sodden suitcase and the mud stains on my red summer coat as the chauffeur lifted her luggage (suitcases, hatbox, and vanity case) out of the car. "Oh, dear. Did you walk here?" She raised one eyebrow.
"Hi, Helena." I beamed at her. Not even Princess von Stein, as I liked to call her, could put me in a bad mood today. True, I'd had to walk some of the way to the castle because my dad had forgotten to pick me up at the airport again. In fact, I'd taken one train and two buses from Cologne Bonn Airport and then walked almost two miles from the village to the castle; all in all I'd been traveling for over eight hours. But I certainly wasn't going to tell Helena that. "I like walking," I said. "Anyway, how was your holiday? You didn't get stalked by that boy at the pool again, did you?"
Helena's lips twitched. "Of course not," she said, pointing to her tanned face. "I've just got back from Mauritius, and it was amazing. And you? I'm guessing you went to see your mom in England again, right?" She made the word England sound not unlike a yawn. But Helena, whose parents were diplomats, had been to so many different countries that anything less than a trip to the moon probably wouldn't have impressed her.
"This time we went on a road trip," I offered nonetheless. "A, um, a cultural study tour, to be exact. It was fascinating."
"Er, sure ... how exciting. Anyway ..." She flicked back her dark hair and followed her suitcases up the steps and into the castle before I could reply. Which was probably for the best, because I would honestly rather have dragged my suitcase another couple of miles uphill than give Helena any more details about my supposed "study tour." And to think it had sounded like such a good idea when my mom had first suggested it....
Initially, the fact that the summer holidays coincided with my mom's new boyfriend's lecture tour had seemed like a golden opportunity. "We've got invitations from all over the country," Mom had gushed. "It means you'll get to see a bit more of England this time, not just Cambridge." Even though my mom had a habit of putting on a husky voice and obsessively touching up her makeup whenever John was around, I'd still been looking forward to spending the seven- week summer holiday with her. We'd made plans to explore London, Manchester, Brighton, and Newcastle together.
It soon transpired, however, that John (a distinguished professor of literature) didn't approve of our proposed mother- daughter excursions. Instead he insisted we accompany him wherever he went, carrying his papers, pouring him glasses of water, and handing him pens with which to sign his books. By the end of the holiday, having sat through forty-two lectures in forty-two stuffy town halls the length and breadth of England, I felt that if I ever had to listen to John's four-hour lecture on eighteenth- century women writers again, I would literally die of boredom. Some holiday this had been! But in spite of everything I'd decided to come out of it feeling positive — re-energized, even. True, I hadn't spent weeks being "pestered" by a good-looking pool boy or the wealthy heir to a Cornish country estate. But my holidays had been so dull that they might almost have been described as ... meditative. Yes, that was definitely the right word. There were people who would have spent seven weeks on a bed of nails in a Tibetan mountain monastery to achieve the kind of inner enlightenment I'd achieved (in a less monastic fashion, admittedly) over the course of forty-two lectures in a series of British town halls.
Because, in between John's pompous speeches and my mom's breathless giggles at all his lame jokes, I'd gradually formulated a plan. I was sixteen years old now, and I felt it was time to take a few things in hand. Things that were long overdue. It was about time I challenged Princess von Stein for the role of head girl, for example. And tidied up the library. And started being more elegant and intelligent and independent in general. And then, of course, there was Frederick ...
Once Helena had disappeared I thought about having another go at dancing in the rain, but I was afraid the chauffeur might come back at any moment and that the other pupils might start arriving — and besides, I was starting to get cold — so I decided against it.
Instead, I made do with turning my face to the sky and taking one more deep breath. Pure, cool Stolzenburg air, fresh with rain. It really did feel good to be back: back in Germany and back at the castle. The gardeners had even planted out some of the pots around the entrance with pink fuchsias, which I loved. I smiled to myself.
The new school year was starting on Monday and I, Emma Magdalena Morgenroth, felt readier than I had ever been. Ready for Year 11. Ready to grow up. I heaved my suitcase up the flight of steps, squared my shoulders, and stepped inside the imposing entrance hall of Stolzenburg School.
* * *
That was the day I found the book.
Later on, I sometimes wondered what would have happened if I hadn't stumbled across it. If we'd never gone into the library in the first place. Or if I had found it, but I'd cast it aside, just shoved it away on a bookshelf somewhere. What would have happened then?
The west wing library was located, unsurprisingly, in the west wing of the castle, which was hardly ever used for day-to-day school life anymore. The classrooms were all in the northern wing of the castle and the common rooms and bedrooms where the school's elite boarders lived and slept were situated in the east wing. Most of the west wing, however, had stood empty since the last time the castle had been renovated some eighty years earlier.
At that time, one of the school's former headmasters had decided that the teaching staff should no longer be housed in the castle itself but in apartments in the neighboring farm buildings. Ever since then the west wing, which was also the oldest part of Stolzenburg Castle, had been used mainly for storing tattered old maps, discarded furniture, and boxes full of yellowing exercise books. With its meter-thick walls and stone staircases, it was difficult to heat, and the water pipes often froze in winter. Only the ballroom on the first floor was in regular use. The rooms on the floors above remained for the most part in a state of cold, dusty hibernation.
I'd always thought it was a bit of a waste, especially considering how beautiful the west wing library was. I'd had an inkling that the room was going to be perfect for our purposes, and now that I saw it with my own eyes I was delighted: Bookshelves covered the walls from floor to wood-paneled ceiling. Even around the windows, shelves had been put in, and all of them were full of old, expensively bound books. (These had long ago been superseded by the school's media center, of course, which gave every student access to library books online.)
There was also an open fireplace and a huge oak desk, several armchairs and sofas with carved wooden feet, a small intarsia table, and an impressive chandelier, which must have dated right back to the early days of electric lighting. There were a few things that were surplus to requirements — broken bits of furniture, antique lamps, piles of tattered papers, boxes full of old atlases bedecked with a thick layer of dirt and cobwebs — but it wouldn't take long to get them out of the way. I rolled up the sleeves of my sweater.
"Nice," said Charlotte, taking a photo on her phone of the clutter around us; no doubt she would post it online later. "But are you sure your dad's okay with it?"
Charlotte was English, a little shorter and slimmer than me, and had the look of a porcelain doll with honey-colored curls. She had a thing about cats (the top she was wearing today had two black cats on it, with their tails entwined to form a heart) and she was also my best friend in the world. For four years now, ever since my first day at Stolzenburg, we'd sat next to each other in classes and shared all our secrets.
"'Course he is," I said. "The room never gets used, anyway." During the most boring holiday in the history of holidays, I'd pictured exactly how it was going to be: We would commandeer the library and turn it into our own private retreat, somewhere to get away from the stress of lessons and the hustle and bustle of the dormitories. I was sure my dad would agree — he let me do whatever I wanted most of the time, so asking his permission was really just a formality. I'd run it by him when I got the chance.
We clambered over cardboard boxes and other assorted clutter. "Just look at all these books. Isn't this amazing?" I said as we stood in the center of the room. "And the fireplace! In winter we'll have a fire, drink tea, and read the classics while the grandfather clock strikes the hour and ice crystals form on the windows. It'll be lovely and cozy."
Charlotte eyed me skeptically. "The classics? You mean like Nathan the Wise? And other such thrilling reads?"
She had a point. Charlotte clearly remembered my scathing comments about Lessing's eighteenth-century play, which we'd read the year before.
I pushed a rickety floor lamp out of the way. "It's not necessarily all about the books. I was thinking more of a kind of secret society." I'd read an article recently about famous student fraternities in the USA, and ever since then I'd been toying with the idea of starting my own elite little club at Stolzenburg. This was one of the oldest and best schools in Europe, after all, and secretly I was imagining a society like Skull and Bones at Yale University. But without any embarrassing rituals like lying around naked in coffins and stuff. "We could just meet here and chat, watch films, do our homework, whatever. It'll be awesome."
"The idea of not having to fight for space on the common room sofas does have a certain appeal," Charlotte conceded. She looked around the room for a moment, then sighed. "But we're going to have to do some dusting."
"Thank you!" I brushed my bangs out of my face and launched into a detailed explanation of my idea: "So, I've got it all planned out. The first thing we need to do is get rid of all this junk. I thought we could shove it in the bedroom opposite; there's plenty of room in there. Though I don't know if we'll be able to carry everything ourselves. But we'll give it a try. Then we'll sweep the floor and get rid of the spiderwebs and their delightful inhabitants. And this chest of drawers here — oh!" Charlotte had suddenly enveloped me in a bear hug.
"I missed you. I didn't even realize how much till now," said Charlotte, still with her arms around me. She smelled a little of sea and sunscreen; she'd only just got back from holiday, too. Her family had been to Lanzarote. "I'm guessing it didn't go the way you wanted with your mom?" she asked.
"Nah, it was fine," I mumbled. Charlotte knew me too well. She knew that the more enthusiastically I threw myself into school life, the worse it meant things were going with my family. Although Mom and I hadn't actually argued the whole holiday. "It was bearable. It was just ..." I thought for a moment, wondering why the disappointment of the holiday was bothering me so much. Being bored wasn't the end of the world, after all, but ... "I think the whole thing just made me realize that I can't expect my parents to sort anything out for me anymore. That's all," I explained at last.
It wasn't exactly a groundbreaking realization, to be fair. I'd had to learn to rely on myself since my parents split up four years ago. My dad had been wrapped up in himself and his job as a headmaster, and my mom was preoccupied with her own chaotic life in England. Since the age of twelve I'd been washing my own clothes, checking my own homework, and deciding what to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
No, my realization was really more of an admission to myself that what I'd always thought of as a sort of temporary state of affairs was never going to change. My dad was always going to be a workaholic, and my mom was always going to be busy "finding herself." And I was sixteen now, and officially not a kid anymore. Only I could decide what to do with my life, and from now on that was exactly what I was going to do. It was that simple. From now on, I was going to be in charge of my own destiny.
Charlotte pulled at my ponytail. "All right then," she said. "Let's make this year our best one yet. And let's make this library our headquarters."
We grinned at each other and set to work. Together we lugged boxes and stacks of paper, three-legged chairs and crinkled lampshades into one of the rooms across the corridor. On top of those we piled globes with out-of-date borders, moth-eaten cushions, and moldy tennis rackets. It took nearly two hours to empty the library of all the things we didn't need. Eventually, however, all that remained was an old chest of drawers in the middle of the room, which absolutely refused to budge. The thing weighed a ton! We leaned our whole weight against it, dug in our heels, and pushed and pulled with all our strength. But the beast didn't move an inch.
After a while Hannah (my new roommate — today was her first day at Stolzenburg) came to give us a hand. But not even our combined strength was enough to shift the chest of drawers. "Do you reckon it's screwed to the floor?" Hannah panted as she and Charlotte pushed and I pulled as hard as I could.
"It feels like it's put down roots," I grunted through gritted teeth. "Anchored itself in the bowels of the earth. They probably built the whole castle around this chest of drawers."
The two of us had immediately clicked. I'd taken to Hannah the moment I'd seen her empty the contents of her suitcase unceremoniously into her closet, saying it didn't matter because she was going to be rummaging through her clothes like a raccoon every morning, anyway.
Of course, I would have loved to share a room with Charlotte now that Francesca, my old roommate, had left Stolzenburg. But Charlotte had been sharing with Princess von Stein for years, and Mrs. Bröder-Strauchhaus — who taught biology and math, and was also in charge of bedroom allocations — was less than accommodating when it came to changing people's sleeping arrangements. (She had some inane reason for this — something to do with us developing good social skills.)
Luckily, Charlotte was the most tolerant and good-natured person I knew and had managed to put up with Helena von Stein's moods without complaint since Year 6. We were also lucky in that Hannah (unlike Charlotte and me) was not afraid of spiders, and she released several of them in quick succession into the ivy outside the library window.
Meanwhile, Charlotte swept the wooden floor and I confronted the chest of drawers again. I'd decided to empty it out. That would make it lighter — hopefully light enough to lift. I started rifling through the drawers. First I unearthed a collection of hideous dried flower arrangements, then a stack of even uglier painted porcelain plates. These were followed by an assortment of candlesticks, broken bits of soap, and yellowed handkerchiefs.
And then I found the book.
Excerpted from "The Forgotten Book"
Copyright © 2017 Mechthild Gläser.
Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Emma goes to a boarding school in a renovated castle in Stolzenburg, Germany, where a handsome but stuck-up boy named Darcy—whose family owns the school—has come to visit, searching for clues to his twin sister’s disappearance four years ago. She didn’t care to give him much attention and preferred the grounds boy Frederick instead, until Darcy one day started spilling facts about his sister. Not that it was his fault, Emma had written that she wished for that very thing, in an old book she found in the abandoned library—a book she thought was just a journal used by others who’d lived in the castle. But then everything she writes in the book begins to come true, even metaphoric things like someone being attacked by a lion. And under the ruins in the woods beside the castle, there lies a secret tunnel with passages, and an old statue of a faun, much like the one in the fairy tale written in the book. Emma will need the help of her friends, and even a couple enemies, to fix the library, find the real faun, and solve the castle’s mysteries before evil strikes again through the power of the magic book. The Forgotten Book is a fun young adult fantasy mystery, perfect for anyone who loves Jane Austen, classic literature retellings, or castles filled with secrets. For discussion questions, a list of similar books, and a themed recipe of sugared doughnuts like Miss Berkenbeck made for the volunteers, visit http://hub.me/amPie
OMG I LOVEDDDD IT ESPECIALLY DARCY. Seriously that boy was HOT
I finished this book in like 3 days!I could not put it down. Loved everything about this book. I lived how the ending was not what I expected. Surely an amazing book. Cannot wait to read The Forgotten Book!!
THE FORGOTTEN BOOK is a charming mystery interlaced with magical elements akin to HARRY POTTER but with a touch of ancient Scottish folklore and an underlying romantic theme straight from Jane Austin's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Gläser did an amazing job pulling inspiration from Jane Austin and using her work to build off of to create her own drama between Emma and Darcy and their friends. Gläser's writing style is vastly detailed, allowing me to feel as if I were trampling along the forest alongside Emma as she uncoverd the mysteries surrounding the magic book. Fans of Mechthild Gläser's THE BOOK JUMPER will definitely want to read THE FORGOTTEN BOOK.
The book started off slow for me, but it did seem to pick up about mid way through the book. I did want to find out where the story went, and the answer to the mystery of Gina, so I had to keep reading. I did enjoy the premise and the characters.
After falling in love with the cover of The Forgotten Book, I was so excited to find out that it was inspired by Jane Austen. I couldn’t wait to get started. Unfortunately, the story fell flat for me. The pacing was off, I found the characters incredibly difficult to relate to, and the writing felt a bit juvenile. The story begins as Emma, the headmaster’s daughter, finds a mysterious book in a little-used library. After she begins reading, she realizes that the book contains a chronicle of the school’s history, written over time by various authors. She begins to contribute, only to find out that whatever she writes in the book comes true. As the repercussions of her actions spread and become more severe, Emma finds herself in danger as the history of the forgotten book is slowly revealed. In regard to the pacing and the writing, I’m not sure if they were off because this is a translation or if the same problems were there in the original book. I could feel the potential behind each section of the book but it felt buried beneath the writing. Plot twists abounded, which should have made for an interesting read. However, since the timing was off, there wasn’t ever quite as much tension as I would have liked and some of the twists seemed to come from nowhere. The Austen references were fun to find but I felt as if the book would have been improved by removing some of the ones that didn’t quite fit. I wasn’t a fan of Emma or any of the other characters. They had the potential to be interesting but none of them ever emerged as distinct, relatable characters to me. Additionally, the school dynamics were a bit confusing, particularly as the plot became more complex. Some of the character’s reasoning and motivations were difficult to understand, I wasn’t sure why most of them did what they did. Unfortunately, this book was definitely not for me. The Forgotten Book had such an interesting concept but I was disappointed by the characters, the plot, and the writing. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Have you ever wanted a mash-up retelling of Jane Austen's Emma AND Pride and Prejudice, with some magic thrown in for fun? Honestly, that isn't a thing I ever knew I wanted. But oh boy am I glad it exists. THE FORGOTTEN BOOK is exactly what I described above. It draws inspiration from both Emma and Pride and Prejudice - wee! - while weaving it's own magically fun tale. The protagonist, aptly named Emma, captures the spirit of her classic predecessor wonderfully. The way she talks, the things she does, it all fit perfectly with how I would envision a sixteen-year-old modern Emma. And although this time around there isn't a Mr. Knightley to keep her in check, there is a swoony young Darcy whom I promptly fell in love with. As one does where a Mr. Darcy is involved. This one was a really quick read for me. As with last year's The Book Jumper, I was drawn into the story immediately, and while it wasn't as deep as some of the other fantasy titles out there right now, it was fun and refreshing. The characters were all a hoot, and I feel that the author did a really great job of building a new, quirky world within our own real world. I loved all of the nods to some of my favorite books. I definitely recommend both of Mechthild Glaser's books, but especially THE FORGOTTEN BOOK. It's a really fun, fast read. And if you're an Austen fan then you're really in for a treat!