Lucy Bee & Soline

Lucy Bee & Soline

Anne Ingram

Lucy’s friends have their career paths sorted, but fifteen-year-old Lucy is floundering. When she welcomes French exchange student Soline into her family home, she has no idea their friendship will lead to a visit to France and a discovery that will pave the way to an exciting career she’s barely even dreamt of. She has no idea either that it will be up to her to unravel a mysterious riddle about a rumoured long-lost family fortune that could change everything.

Soline, wanting a change of scene and adventure, travels to New Zealand. After just a few weeks, her sister calls from France with disturbing news – their historic family chateau will have to be sold. Soline, inspired by a Maori writer who saved her ancestral land against all odds, searches desperately for a way to prevent losing the home her family have lived in for generations. In doing so, she discovers where her future lies.
NZ$ 25.00
ISBN 978-0-473-65188-6
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This novel was sparked by two similar situations. The first was the very real potential loss of a family’s ancestral land on the Kapiti Coast. It was about to be seized for the new expressway. The second was the continual struggle to maintain an historic French chateau owned by its family for generations. The situations were very different but the threat was the same – not only the loss of family ownership but also the loss of heritage. It got me thinking about how important one’s heritage is – knowing where you’ve come from, who your antecedents were and what they did, how and where they lived.

In the novel, Lucy comes to realise the importance of skilfully made beautiful objects from the past – the stories they hold, their relevance to today because of what they can teach us. This is the kind of heritage she wants to help conserve and where she sees her future. Soline’s heritage is in the family land. Knowing how her ancestors fought to keep it and care for it, she knows she must maintain and even improve the legacy they left so that it can be passed on to the next generation.

This novel is the third in the Lucy Bee series but is a complete story in its own right. Soline is a French student staying with Lucy Bee's family on the Kapiti Coast. Soline receives a phone call with devastating news: the family chateau may have to be sold. Soline is understandably upset as it has been in the family for generations. As Soline opens up to Lucy, they make comparisons between the importance of land and heritage in France and Maori land issues in Aotearoa. Anne Ingram tells the story in alternating chapters from each girl's perspective. The supportive friendship between them is a delight. The front cover sums up the novel beautifully. A chateau with grape vines is juxtaposed with a marae, native NZ birds and plants. Although France and Aotearoa are poles apart geographically and culturally, the author shows commonality through the importance of heritage and taonga. This book will appeal to ages 12-15. Recommended.      Nova Gibson - READNZ TE MURAMURA 

Discovery is at the heart of this enjoyable tale of two young girls from the opposite ends of the earth: discovery of self, friendship, interests, history, and ultimately a hidden treasure. The story explores turangawaewae and the importance of treasuring and protecting where you come from, both in the NZ setting and in Soline's part of the world. For Lucy, the visit (to France) awakens her interest in history, another part of understanding who you are and where you belong. As a history nerd, I loved seeing Lucy entralled by the chateau's tapestries and wanting to learn more about Aotearoa's history. I truly hope she follows her dream to study history.     Vanessa Hatley-Owen - KIDSBOOKSNZ