Wednesday 12 February 2020

Rooftoppers Book Review

Rooftoppers, what can I say?

I read many reviews about this novel (some good, some bad) before I took the plunge to buy it and I'm glad I did because although it will never be an ultimate favourite of mine, it is brilliantly imaginative none the less.


Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck which left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. Her guardian tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive, but that means still possible. You should never ignore a possible. So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands and flees to Paris to look for her mother, starting with the only clue she has - the address of the cello maker. Evading the French authorities, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers - urchins who live in the sky. Together they scour the city for Sophie's mother before she is caught and sent back to London, and most importantly before she loses hope. 

The front cover alone looks oh so idyllic.

Like something from a postcard.

Or perhaps a dream.

Rooftoppers is a tale of Sophie. To outsiders she is an orphan, a young girl left without parents. To Sophie she is simply herself, living her best life with her guardian - Charles, who is quite the eccentric.

At the beginning of the book we get a glimpse of their lives together.

The freedom they seem to gift each other whilst also content with the company they afford one another. It's a beautiful relationship to read about. You can feel the awkwardness at times as they try to navigate each new situation but what I love throughout is that feeling of optimism.

Now as Sophie has grown, her needs have changed and the Welfare agency no longer think that Charles can care for her in the way that is deemed appropriate to set her up for independent life. This is not an opinion that either of them share.

With the threat of an orphanage looming over them, the pair set out on a journey to Paris in search of Sophie's birth mother.

From the streets of London to the rooftops of Paris we are taken on a whimsical adventure.

It's hard to convey in a review all the feels that this books produced inside me as I read it. Filled with a magical cast of characters, this is a novel that has a distinct voice with a deeper meaning.

Or think how moonlight might talk, or think of ink, if ink had vocal chords. 

Something I really love throughout the book is the mentions of music, of the cello Sophie remembers her mum playing.

What was unique about this story was that even through more dramatic and alarming moments, Katherine managed to keep a relaxed vibe to the tale. It wasn't what I'd describe as a page turner, instead gentle and captivating. 

Telling the reader to embrace the possible, because as long as there is possibility then there is hope.

A place to put down her heart. A resting stop to recover her breath.

My only criticism is how quickly it ended.

It seemed too abrupt. Like there were things left unsaid.

I would have liked at least an epilogue that gave a bit of closure to both Charles and Sophie's journeys. 

Over all Rooftoppers is an enchanting, classic-feeling book, filled to the brim with a real love for life, making you stop and look at the smaller things, seeing the beauty in all of the surroundings, not just those at eye level. 


  1. I absolutely love this book. Like you I'd read several different reviews but I wasn't disappointed :o)


  2. This sounds a delightful read. Did you hear about The Book of Hopes which Katherine Rundell has edited specially for lockdown and it is free

  3. That does sound lovely! It is always disappointing when books end abruptly, and it does seem to happen so often. Maybe there is a sequel planned to continue their stories?


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