Eloise is a young girl who suddenly finds herself on a great adventure in a very strange land. With her new friends Rainbow, Cat and Owl, she starts looking for the Wordsmith’s Castle where all her favourite stories come from. After a long and dangerous walk through dark places they finally arrive. But all is not as Eloise had expected. When she is taken captive, together with famous story characters, she learns that the Great Witch is about to change every good story into an evil one. Somehow Eloise must find a way to stop the Great Witch, and return the stories and characters to the Wordsmith. In the process, Eloise learns that her own life is a story, too, and one with great possibilities.
Jeanne Spyker Hardy has long had an affinity with words and the pictures they make. Professionally, she has experience in survey drafting and has worked with children who have special needs. Jeanne is a mother of five and oma to ten grandchildren. She is passionate about writing and the creative arts. Eloise in the Land of Beginnings is her first book.
Eloise has had enough!
Eloise never believed such a thing could happen, but happen it did. This is the story of how she had the most exciting adventure, and how no one believed the telling of it. But it didn’t matter, because Eloise knew that it really did happen, and that she would never be the same girl again. Her brothers, of whom there were four, were being particularly bothersome to Eloise on this damp Sunday afternoon. She was the youngest child, the quietest and the only girl. Her brothers were taking much pleasure in teasing her. They flicked her book shut when she was reading, and whooped around her head like a band of warriors. They jumped out from behind the door and frightened her with evil faces and ghostly voices. Now, they had locked her out of the house and laughed gleefully from behind the window. She wondered what to do.
Down at the back of the garden, alongside the shed and tucked in the corner, grew a large old oak tree. Its branches draped around the garden shed, hanging comfortably, with hidey-holes to be discovered in its ancient arms. Eloise liked to think that it had been waiting just for her, like a secret place.
One with leaves that she sometimes thought whispered to her in the wind. Eloise decided she would go down to the tree and climb onto its twisting old branches, which reached down to the ground. She would nestle amongst the damp leaves, letting her brothers think that she had run away.
As Eloise curled up in the big old oak tree, she tried not to cry. Sometimes she thought it would be better if she were a boy, like her brothers. But she wasn’t. She was a girl, and that seemed the trickiest thing to be. Sometimes, she wondered who she really was. She was not brave and found it hard to stand up to her brothers. As hard as she tried, Eloise could not stop her eyes filling with tears which dribbled down her cheeks.
All around her Eloise could hear the drip, drip, drip of raindrops falling off the leaves onto the roof of the garden shed. She took her hanky out of her pocket, wiped her nose and rubbed her wet eyes dry. Then something quite unexpected happened.
When Eloise finished drying her eyes, she was not in her own garden at all! Eloise looked around, wondering where her house had gone. Of course, it had not gone anywhere. But Eloise had.
‘Pleased to meet you,’ a voice suddenly called out behind her. ‘My name is Rose and my friend here is Cabbage.’
Eloise was startled. She could not see anyone and surely a rose wasn’t talking to her?
‘He doesn’t really belong in this part of the garden, but he got lost and ended up here. I suppose I shall have to keep him now that he has arrived. He is not at all good-looking and his colour!’ Here Rose looked disdainfully down at Cabbage. ‘Roses are beautifully coloured in shades to delight the eye and we smell so divinely, whereas he, poor chap, is a woeful shade of green and smells not at all pleasant. But we have plenty of room in the garden. So, I daresay he can stay.’ Then, turning her attention to Eloise, Rose asked: ‘Who are you and what are you
Rose hardly paused for breath. She delicately brushed her petals over Cabbage, who looked up adoringly at Rose. Eloise realised that indeed it was a talking rose, and she felt she had to give an answer. But how strange!
‘I am Eloise and I don’t really know why I am here or how I arrived. I don’t even know where here is. Can you tell me?’
‘I can tell you where you are, but how you came to be here, I cannot answer,’ Rose replied. ‘This is the Garden that surrounds the Land of Beginnings. Somewhere out there is a great Castle, but I have never been there myself.’
‘A Castle? That sounds wonderful. Can you tell me how to get there?’ Eloise, having arrived in the Land of Beginnings, was curious about the Castle even though she still had no idea what had happened to her.
‘You will need a Password,’ said Rose. ‘They won’t let you in if you haven’t got one.’
‘I don’t know anything about a Password. Where would I get one? And how would I find the Castle even if I had a Password?’
Eloise was full of questions, which she hoped Rose could answer.
Rose blushed. ‘Oh I am so sorry, but I cannot possibly tell you how to find the Castle. It’s a secret; no one is allowed to tell. You will have to use your imagination.’
And off Rose went, Cabbage trailing behind her, and petals from her dress dropping at Eloise’s feet. Eloise watched Rose disappear down the path, then picked up the petals carefully. They were too beautiful to leave on the ground. Eloise found room in her pocket, carefully tucking them away. There did not seem to be any other flowers in the garden except roses. As Eloise walked through them, they whispered to each other and turned their faces away shyly. Eloise followed the path through the garden, which was very large – much larger than her garden at home. At last she arrived at the garden’s edge and the beginning of a forest. But although it was daytime in the garden, the forest was in complete darkness.