Stolen by Vivian Vande Velde
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 158 pages
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Corp
This is the first book of Velde's I have read and I found myself enjoying the story line. Isabelle is a young girl who has no memory of who she is. The story begins with Isabelle running in the forest with a pack of hunting dogs tight on her heels. Just when she thinks the dogs will be the death of her, she pulled into unconsciousness. Then she awakens she finds she has been taken in by a peasant family - Avis and Browley - and their young daughter, Ravyn.
Ravyn is a six year old who is determined Isabelle was a Princess stolen away by the legendary witch from the forest. Apparently this witch has been stealing away young children for many years - the children are never seen or heard from again. Ravyn enjoys weaving a new life for Isabelle out of her curious imagination.
Just when Isabelle is starting to feel comfortable with the peasant family, another family appears, claiming she is their daughter who was stolen away six years earlier. This poor family had recently has a second child stolen away, a newborn only one months old. The mother is determined that the young girl is her daughter, Isabelle, but the oldest daughter, Honey, is convinced this girl is not her long lost sister.
But all is not what it seems with Isabelle's "supposed" family and she begins to wonder if they are claiming her in order to gain an inheritance from a rich aunt, whom Isabelle is named after.
This book has a happy ending, but not the ending I was anticipating. Just when I thought I knew how the story would end, Velde gives the story an unusual twist.
This small book - 158 pages - was a different kind of young adult book and I read it in one sitting. Not your normal young adult fantasy book, this story is more along the lines of the wonderful fairy tales I read as a child. Stolen has increased my desire to read other books by Vivian Vande Velde.