Reader Reviewed Twelve Nights by Andrew Zurcher

Twelve Nights

Written by Andrew Zurcher

11+ readers   Debuts of the Month   9+ readers   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

April 2018 Debut of the Month | In a Nutshell: Mystery | Magic | Otherworldly wraiths | An ambitious and atmospheric fantasy adventure in which an eleven-year-old girl discovers an uncanny world following the disappearance of her dad.

Kay’s curious quest begins one Christmas Eve when she, her sister and mum go to collect her dad from working late at his Cambridge college. Eerily, no one knows who he is - not the porters who see him every day, and not the academic now occupying his office. Stranger still is the calling card Kay discovers on her pillow. Who are Will O. de Wisp and Phillip R. T. Gibbet? And how did this card for their removals business find its way into her room? Kay meets these strangers that very same night, and learns that they have “removed” her father. What this means, why, and where to is a mystery, but Kay is determined to discover the truth, along with the truth as to why she can see these wraiths, when humans are not generally able to.

This lyrical debut boasts something of the fantastical dreaminess and classic adventuring conjured by the likes of Michael Ende and Cornelia Funke, yet the plot here unfolds in an all together more ethereal manner, with feelings and atmospheres evoked in painterly detail, and the plot progressing at an unhurried pace. Indeed, this not a book to race through. The poetic style invites utter absorption, a suspension of time, and, for that reason it comes recommended for readers who like to savour language, and suspend belief. ~ Joanne Owen

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Freddie Barth von Wehrenalp, age 10 - 'The story is wonderful and almost impossible to describe with words.  I found it a delight to read and would recommend it to anybody who likes action and adventure over the age of 9. '
  • Charlotte Dunn, age 10 - 'Beautiful, powerful storytelling. A magical adventure book about stories, full of figurative language which transports you along with the characters.'
  • Ross O'Gorman, age 11 - 'I loved this fantasy adventure, although the ending left me with a lot of unanswered questions, which I hope might be addressed in a sequel.'
  • Issie Ford, age 10 - 'This book is exciting and dangerous, with a character who will do anything to get her father back... I would recommend it to readers who enjoy fantasy and mystery stories, and looking at our world in another way.'
  • Josh Parcell, age 10 - 'I loved the book and I would suggest it for 8 to 11 years old.'
  • Seren Daly, age 11 - 'This is a fantastic book with imaginative writing and beautiful ideas. It's laced with betrayal, happiness and longing to be home. This book is filled with magic and strangeness.'
  • Ross O'Gorman, age 11 - 'Overall though, I loved this fantasy adventure, although the ending left me with a lot of unanswered questions, which I hope might be addressed in a sequel.'
  • Charlotte Dunn, age 10 - 'Beautiful, powerful storytelling. A magical adventure book about stories, full of figurative language which transports you along with the characters.'
  • Nicki Bansi, age 14 - YLolfa Gcg Library - 'It's the type of book that you'd read at bedtime and that gives you a nice, magical and sort of warm feeling. With an epic storyline full of intrigue and wonder, this gorgeously crafted novel is a must for any book lover!'
  • Isaac East, age 11 - 'Twelve Nights by Dr Andrew Zurcher is a fantastic fantasy-filled read.  A story about Kay whose dad goes missing. An unexpected visit leads Kay on a chase to search for her dad.'
  • Sue Wilsher - 'A magical story written in lyrical language which needs time to explore and enjoy...With secrets, betrayal and mystery running through every page, this is a book to savour and lose yourself in.'
  • Punam Shah - 'Twelve Nights is an awesome read...A whole new world has been unlocked, one that has amazing fantasies and tales. Unearthly creatures come to life and you explore the world with them.'
  • Esmay, Yr 7 - Thorp Academy - 'Twelve Nights is a fun, adventurous book packed with humour and loveable characters.'


Twelve Nights by Andrew Zurcher

Kay and her little sister, Eloise, never imagined that their standard icy Christmas Eve in Cambridge would be the start of a twelve-night odyssey . . .

Kay's father is working late - as usual. Fed up, her mother bundles her daughters into the car and drives to her husband's Cambridge college to collect him herself. But when they arrive, the staff claim that nobody by his name has ever worked there . . .Kay is puzzled by her mother's reaction - silent tears, not anger and confusion. And what is even more puzzling is the card on her pillow when they return home:

Will O. de Wisp, Gent. F.H.S.P. and Phillip R. T. Gibbet, Gent. F.H.S.P. K.Bith. REMOVALS.

That night, Kay is woken by voices at her window: the voices of Will and Phillip, the Removers. But they are not human. And Kay shouldn't be able to see them. Except she can . . .

About the Author

Andrew Zurcher is Director of Studies in English at Queens' College, Cambridge, and a leading international expert on the works of Spenser, Sidney and Shakespeare. Twelve Nights is his debut novel.

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Book Info


448 pages


Andrew Zurcher
More books by Andrew Zurcher


Puffin an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd

Publication date

5th April 2018




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