The Chestnut Roaster
My second novel, THE CHESTNUT ROASTER, published October 2022 with Everything With Words, is a middle-grade novel (for 9-12 year olds) and is set in Paris in 1888.
*** THE TIMES CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE WEEK ***
“Starting on All Fools’ Day, twelve years ago, I remember everything. EVERYTHING. That was a wet Saturday, and that was the day I was born.”
12-year-old Piaf has the ability to, and burden of, remembering everything that has happened since the day she was born. When she discovers everyone in Paris has forgotten the entire last year, 1888, including the disappearance of several gifted children, Piaf and her twin brother Luc embark on a dangerous journey that brings them to the depths of Paris’s underground twin, the Catacombs, to capture the memory thief and find the lost children—but are the two connected? And who dare they trust?
Cover design, illustration & lettering by Holly Ovenden
Internal illustrations by Ewa Beniak-Haremska
The Chestnut Roaster is available in all good bookshops! Some of my favourites:
The Times: CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE WEEK. “Fantastique!” Full review.
The Week Junior: CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE WEEK “This haunting adventure of memory and magic will transport you to Paris.”
The Guardian / Observer: “A pacy feast for the senses, dizzyingly illustrated by Ewa Beniak-Haremska.” Full review.
Irish Independent: “The plot is as clever and twisting as the catacombs themselves. Perfect for fantasy adventure fans.” Full review.
The Echo: “Intertwining an imaginative plot full of mystery and malice… Eve McDonnell creates a deliciously dark novel coloured by a richness of smells, sights and sounds of Paris. Perfect for Halloween reading for ages 10 and up.”
Lancashire Post: “An absolute stunner… don’t miss it!” Full review.
Kieran Larwood: “Eve has done it again! Like reading a poem: beautiful, mysterious and captivating.”
Zillah Bethell, Author: “Just Phenomenal! I went overland and underland & every space in between through the city of light and dark, loving every step. MAGNIFIQUE!“
Sinéad O’Hart, Author: “The depths of Eve McDonnell’s imagination are astounding. This novel is an immersive, sensory, exciting journey through Paris in the year 1888, and the city comes to vivid fictional life in its pages. All the mysteries in Piaf’s life come together in a well-plotted conclusion to her exciting, fast-paced, whirlwind of a story.” Full review.
A M Howell, Author: “Loved, loved, loved The Chestnut Roaster. Full of heart, adventure, mystery, plucky characters and Paris! The perfect autumn read for me.”
Sarah Webb, Author & Reviewer: “Set in Paris in 1888, this highly original historical fantasy is full of twists and turns and will delight any fans of Helena Duggan.”
Patricia Forde, Author: “Eve McDonnell has created a wonderful world full of invention and mystery. This is a thrilling fantasy that will sweep you off your feet!”
Claire Hennessy, Author & Reviewer: “Beautiful, dreamily-strange adventure tale for readers 9+”
Kate Poels, Author & Reviewer: “A real cracker.” “A fantastic story full of intrigue, full of mystery, full of wonder and incredible characters.”
Olivia Hope, Author: “Glorious work by Irish writer Eve McDonnell. Sumptuous details, immersive surroundings and a nervy little character that will steal your heart.”
Writing.ie Jo Nester: “Eve McDonnell writes using all the senses to covey atmosphere, place and setting, as well as emotions. She excels at this.” Full review here.
Mary Esther Judy, Bookblogger: “An extraordinary adventure above & below Paris, 1888; gripping, dramatic with little bursts of humour, heartfelt & completely magical.” Full review here.
Erin Hamilton, Bookblogger: “This is an extraordinary story! I am in awe of the twists, torments and trials of the characters. Complex, mysterious and brilliant.”
Miss Cleveland, Bookblogger: “The whole story was just mesmerising. Straddles the dark line perfectly for older primary, just enough for goosebumps and nail biting without taking it too far.”
Kevin Cobane, Teacher & Reviewer: “A brilliantly imagined story full of mystery, intrigue and drama that completely captivated me. Exquisitely illustrated and rich in period detail this is storytelling at its best – C’est Magnifique!”
Gordon Askew, Headteacher & Bookblogger: “With such idiosyncratic, clever language use, evocative location and character building, and stirringly imaginative storytelling, how could the book as a whole not emerge as highly distinguished. The Chestnut Roaster feels destined to become one of my Children’s Books of the Year.” Full review here.
Fern Tolley, Bookblogger: “C’est magnifique! Remarquable! 5 étoiles! This remarkable tale of chestnuts, catacombs, courage and an unbreakable bond between siblings is as unforgettable as the power of Piaf’s extraordinary mind.” Full review here.
Waterstones Trafalgar Sq., Bookseller: “As a bookseller, I do read a LOT of books and it is very rare for me to describe a book as ‘special’. However, this book is! I highly recommend this book for children and adults alike” Full review here.
Tamsin Rosewell, Bookseller: “Brilliant, complex and highly original storytelling.” See Kenilworth Books window art here.
Halfway Up The Stairs Bookshop: FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2022
My debut novel, ELSETIME, published September 2020 by independent publisher, Everything With Words, is a middle-grade novel (for 9-12 year olds). It was inspired by a real-life tragic event: The Great Flood of London in 1928. I cannot wait for you to meet Needle and an impetuous jeweller’s apprentice called Glory; a special crow and a hard-nosed taskmaster; a distinguished inventor and a deadly flood – all living their lives in Inthington Town just a stone’s throw from each other but with many decades between.
It’s January 6th 1928, the day before the GREAT FLOOD. There’s a snowstorm and the river is about to burst its banks – fourteen souls will be lost. Can Glory, an orphan with only one hand, her TIME-TRAVELLING friend Needle and their pet CROW change the future? Is there ANYONE among all those people entombed in that snow-shrouded town who will LISTEN? WARNING: Time travel isn’t something you should try unless you are prepared to face the consequences.
~WINNER, CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD (pre publication) WELLS FESTIVAL OF LITERATURE 2017 ~
~ BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020: HALFWAY UP BOOKS ~
~ CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020: BRIDGE STREET BOOKS ~
~ SHORTLISTED FOR THE SPELLBINDING BOOK AWARD 2021 ~
~ SHORTLISTED FOR THE AWESOME BOOK AWARD 2022 ~
Cover art & internal illustrations by Holly Ovenden
The Irish Examiner: “Expertly crafted.” “Characters splendidly drawn.” “A remarkable debut which features a brilliant and surprising ending.”
The Irish Times: “Rich with historical detail – Elsetime is both classic in tone and original in vision.”
Irish Independent: “Fans of Helena Duggan will love the atmosphere and clever plotting of this debut novel and there’s a terrific twist towards the end. A highly original debut.”
Lancashire Post: “Steeped in atmosphere and suspense, beautifully written, and full of superb historical details and a finely drawn cast of eclectic characters, Elsetime is gripping, moving, and delivers a final, dazzling twist that will delight readers both young and old.”
Fiona Noble, The Bookseller, June Previews: “Can two children change the course of fate? Inspired by the real-life 1928 Great Flood of London, this intriguing debut blends time-slip with historical adventure. The striking cover is by Holly Ovenden, whose half-page illustrations will appear throughout the book.”
Kieran Larwood, Author: “An enchanting, time-twisting adventure. Beautifully written.”
Helena Duggan, Author: “Eve McDonnell’s gripping story weaves delicately through time, with a brilliant twist in the tale that will leave you longing for Glory and Needles’ next adventure!”
Nicki Thornton, Author: “Glorious storytelling indeed.”
Steve Voake, Author & Lecturer: “Elsetime is a tale that combines time-travel with evocative description, colourful characterisation and artistic endeavour to create the unique and compelling story of friendship and courage.”
Sinead O’Hart, Author: “Written in a unique and memorable voice, and peopled with characters as memorable as the wonderful Needle and the spirited Glory, Eve McDonnell’s debut novel is one not to miss. McDonnell has woven a clever and heartwarming story from a real-life tragedy, a tale with high stakes and genuine moments of warmth and love and humour. You’ll never look at crows in the same way again…”
Zillah Bethell, Author: “I read Elsetime, and I thought it was miraculously MAGICAL! Loved it!”
Sophie Kirtley, Author: “I LOVE Elsetime by brilliant Eve McDonnell. So atmospheric and unique. Plus my VERY discerning 12 y/o loved it too.”
Sue Chambers, Waterstones Bookseller: “A beautifully written and atmospheric tale of bravery and friendship.” Read full review here.
Trish Hennessy, Bookseller, Halfway Up The Stairs: “This book is filled with intriguing characters, a rich plot and is a rip roaring adventure – one of my favourite books of the year. Highly recommend for age 10+”
Tamsin Rosewell, Bookseller, Kenilworth Books: “An amazing piece of writing!”
LoveReading4Kids (Andrea Reece): September 2020 Debut of the Month. “A sparkling timeslip adventure full of magic, great characters and real treasure.” Read full review here.
Booklover Jo: “Cleverly written and wonderfully executed it is an absolute joy to read… A truly extraordinary debut that I absolutely loved, Eve is definitely one to watch out for!” More here.
Erin, Book Blogger (@AssetReadingAdvocate): “Elsetime is a story full of courage, friendship and hope. I highly recommend it. One to watch!” Read full review here.
Mary Rees, Book Blogger (@marysimms72): “Elsetime is an utterly exhilarating and captivating time-slip story with THE most amazing crow! This is definitely one to look out for!” Read full review here.
Kate Poels, Book Reviewer & Author: “I’ve been given a sneaky peek at a book not out until Sept and it’s one of the best things I’ve read this year. I love it when a book grabs me like this one and I’m looking forward to shouting about it in the autumn.” See video review here.
Donna @NinjaTeacher, Book Reviewer: “WOW… WOW… WOW!! This is a book like no other! So unique. A story like none I have ever read before. I recommend this book to everyone. A classic in the making!“
Mary Esther Judy – book blogger: “Time-flip novel that creates an imaginative, richly textured tale of two pasts coming together. Mesmerising, unique & full of ingenuity; wonderful!” More here.
Elsetime is available in all good bookshops! Some of my favourites:
And you can order Elsetime here too:
Die Brücke nach Morgen
LIEBE DEUTSCHE FREUNDE! “Die Brücke Nach Morgen”, übersetzt von der großartigen Birgit Salzmann, kommt am 3. Juni 2022 heraus. Cover gestaltet von Alexandra Helm. Ich kann es kaum erwarten, dass ihr mit Needle & Glory und ihrer sehr cleveren Krähe auf Zeitreise geht! Edel Kids Books
GERMAN FRIENDS! Die Brücke nach Morgen (The Bridge to Tomorrow, aka #Elsetime), translated by brilliant Birgit Salzmann is out June 3rd 2022. Cover art by Alexandra Helm. I can’t wait for you to time-travel with Needle & Glory and their very clever crow! Published by Edel Kids Books