The Quill Pen is the story of Micah, a boy on the cusp of manhood living in an east coast harbor village in the early 1800s. He dreams of life on the western frontier but cannot escape the shadow of his stern merchant father. Life is a series of mundane drudgeries for Micah until he discovers a mysterious quill pen while cleaning an old widow’s attic. Not only can it write without ink, whatever one writes with it comes true. Micah eventually discovers the pen’s dark secret, but not before it exacts a terrible price.
As I flew through the book, I kept thinking to myself how much my kids would love this. Then it dawned on me - this must be a middle grade or young adult novel. I usually don’t read MG, or even YA, but I didn’t care. I had to find out what happened next.
The young protagonist and supporting characters clearly put this novel in the MG/YA category. However, The Quill Pen is one of those rare books that defy being pigeon-holed because it is so well written. Isenhoff’s quality prose, well-crafted dialogue, and richness of the historical setting make The Quill Pen entertaining for adults as well. She paints the characters with masterful strokes. Micah’s post-colonial village comes alive with detail older readers will appreciate while keeping the plot clipping forward for kids. Isenhoff’s prose is smooth, effortless, and sucks readers in immediately. Combined, these strengths give The Quill Pen a classic, almost Twain-like feel. This book is so well edited it could have come out of any major publishing house, a worthy feat for any indie author.
Quill’s only fault is it slows slightly in the middle, which might lose some MG readers. For older readers, this won’t be an issue. It could also use a snappier cover worthy of the content inside.
The Quill Pen is suitable for any age capable of understanding the subject matter. Nothing here should concern parents.
The Quill Pen is delightful on every level. Isenhoff is an indie author worth keeping an eye on. This entertaining story of adventure, magic, and history is one of those gems of self-publishing that make this job so enjoyable.
This magical pen writes itself into my Top Picks with a score of 94 out of 99 cents.
The Quill Pen on Amazon.com
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