Twelve-year-old Iris has been sent to Spain on a mission: to make sure her elderly and unusual aunt, Ursula, leaves her fortune–and her sprawling estate–to Iris’s scheming parents.
But from the moment Iris arrives at Bosque de Nubes, she realises something isn’t quite right. There is an odd feeling around the house, where time moves slowly and Iris’s eyes play tricks on her. While outside, in the wild and untamed forest, a mysterious animal moves through the shadows.
Just what is Aunt Ursula hiding?
But when Iris discovers a painting named Iris and the Tiger, she sets out to uncover the animal’s real identity–putting her life in terrible danger.
Iris and the Tiger by Leanne Hall
Published: January 27th 2016 by Text Publishing
The tiger, doing exactly as it pleased, not caring in the slightest about the rules that should have kept it on the canvas…
This book made me wonder why I stopped reading middle-grade books. Iris and the Tiger is a wonderful book on art and magic. I’m putting it on the list of books I wish I could gift to my 12 year old self through time travel, of course. (Iris and the Tiger could happily sit with my Diana Wynne Jones collection). The mystery/detective plot is strong too. Iris’ curiosity pulls the reader into this surreal world where her aunt piece’s art pieces blend effortlessly with everyday life.
I also liked that this story is from the perspective of a biracial Australian heroine (Iris’ mother has European heritage and her father immigrated from Hong Kong). Iris is witty with her own observations of how others perceive her overseas. She finds her footing among friends, family, art and magic. It was just what I needed to read before visiting the Frida Kahlo exhibition.
Thanks to Romi for putting this book on my TBR. I like how this book is also highlighted by Cassandra Golds, another Australian author who I admire for her surreal and insightful middle grade stories. I plan on picking up more of Leanne Hall‘s work in the future.