Kathryn Siebel is a storyteller like no other. One night while travelling with her husband to a B & B in Ireland, Kathryn saw a mother and daughter sitting in front of a fireplace sewing. Years later, she began to imagine the story that Irish mother might have been telling her daughter in front of the fire. Missing Arabella, her first novel, is the result, where a mother recounts this tale of identical twins, Arabella and Henrietta, to her daughter.
Arabella and Henrietta are very different. Arabella is popular, pretty and multi-talented, while Henrietta is quiet, untidy and has only one friend: her own sister. Their parents love Arabella best and often ignore Henrietta or act as though she isn’t important to them. One early morning, Henrietta takes her mother’s sewing scissors and cuts Arabella’s fringe as she sleeps because she resents how perfect she is. Her parents decide to send Henrietta away to her peculiar Aunt Priscilla who eats food like fish heads and hasn’t left her Victorian house in years. After a series of dreams showing the miserable life Henrietta is living, Arabella makes the brave decision to find her sister and rescue her. Will she make it? Will the sisters be reunited and will Henrietta be able to come home?
Siebel’s writing style is humourous, quirky and intelligent. It has echoes of Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket. Readers of 9+ will love this unique fairy tale and Missing Arabella is an ideal book to read aloud in the classroom.