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Teenage Book of the Month
Dark Warning by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Taney Tyrell sees things that are about to happen, bad things that she would be better off not knowing about. She has inherited this gift from her late mother and her father appeals to her never to use it. It is because of this gift that her friendship with Billy-no-legs or Billy-the-Bowl as he’s known in Dublin’s Smithfield area continues long after they meet initially as a result of similar social disadvantages. Billy has been treated as an outcast because of his missing limbs and Taney is picked upon by her fickle friends when she divulges her extraordinary powers to Jenna Mooney. Billy rescues her from a vicious attack by the children in the area who set upon her calling her a witch.
Taney and Billy strike up a mutual friendship which turns out to be more beneficial for him when Taney helps him succeed in winning money at games of Hazard and placing all the right bets at cock fighting meetings.
Her gifts are further exposed when the Quality (the rich ladies over on Queen Street) employ her as a fortune teller and the star attraction for their social get togethers.
Events take a sinister twist when lone ladies walking home at night are attacked and even murdered. Taney must decide how best to use her second sight. She is forced into using it though she is petrified of the knowledge it will bring her.
Dark Warning gives an accurate insight into the shadier side of life in 19th Century, Georgian Dublin. Excellent prose, credible vivacious dialogue and brilliant characterisation come together to make an engaging first young adult book by this author who has only in the past few years departed from picture book creation to writing for older readers.