London, Bloomsbury, 2005
There seems to be all sorts of magical things going on in Wales. Pauline Fisk draws upon the mystery and fantasy of the Welsh mountains and valleys to create an adventure story full of originality.
Sabrina Fludde begins when a young girl is washed up on the bank of a river in a small town. She can't remember her name or her history. She doesn't know how she got there, or even where she is. Left to fend for herself on the streets, she makes friends: first with a boy called Bentley, who she finds playing his saxophone under the railway bridge, and whose parents take her in; and then Phaze II, a homeless boy who shows her the ropes. The social services want to reconnect her with her parents, but she isn't sure she wants to go back.
The novel is beautifully written - incredibly descriptive. Fisk details every element of every scene. There isn't much dialogue, as most of the plot circles around Abren and her feelings. But the Welsh landscape is vast and inspiring, and sometimes rather terrifying.
Sabrina Fludde is part mystery, part drama. It is rather slow in pace, due to, and allowing for, the descriptive passages. It is not until the mid-section that the drama kicks in, and there is a serious element of danger facing our young protagonist.
I enjoyed this novel with regards to the exploration of lonliness and isolation. Abren is sometimes surrounded by people - friends, sort-of-families - but she seems to be constantly isolated. She is trying to work out who she is, but, as many do when searching for their identity, she neglects to look to those nearest and dearest. It is a touching novel.