Daniel Dockery - Wendington Jones and the Missing Tree - Book Review - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books


We have a big theme on the blog this year as we're shouting about all the fantastic debut children's authors that have books coming out in 2023. Daniel Dockery has written plenty of gripping TV scripts for some of our well-loved soaps e.g. Hollyoaks and Coronation Street but the question is can he deliver a hit with his first book? Wendington Jones and the Missing Tree is due to be published on the 6th April 2023 by UCLan Publishing. The book cover illustration has been fantastically produced by Marco Guadalupi and really reflects the story inside.  

The story starts off rather sad and very reflective as the main character, Wendington Jones, mourns her mother's death. Unfortunately, her adventuring mother dies in a car crash in the late 1920s. This tragic accident sets the scene for a very fast-paced start as Wendington receives a mystery parcel in the middle of the night. As a result, she finds herself undertaking a global adventure to find the legendary Tree of Life. Wendington is a remarkable character who has many roles: a daughter, friend, and traveller. She is clever, inquisitive, witty, and, multi-talented: twice Latin scholar, adequate horse rider, and the second-best fencer in three countries. However, she's going to need every ounce of these skills to solve her mother's mystery. 

After the fast-paced start, the story slows down a little which gives you time to settle into the story. The journey enables you to float along a fantastic and surreal plot that has a different feel from other books in this genre. You get to think about what is happening and allow all the actions and consequences to be absorbed. I really loved this as it enabled me to become fully immersed in the world.

Another strong point of the book was the ending - I really did not expect it. It felt unusual and really made me reflect on the adventure I'd just been on. So, if you are ready to flex your detective skills, fly into peril, stop a boat from exploding, and explore the theme of immortality then this might just be the read you're looking for. Expect drama, bloodshed, and sugar bombs as you meet a truly extraordinary character. She will certainly stay with me for some time. This story is a brilliant titanic read that does not sink.