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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain is a fantasy/adventure book for children by T.X. Troan. Sophia is a lonely young girl, whose mother has passed away and whose father is too wrapped up in his business affairs to spend any time with her. Materially, Sophia wishes for nothing but really all she desires is to spend some time with her dad. Her father insists that he is building up his business empire just for her, that she will take it over from him one day, but deep down Sophia wants nothing to do with it and loses herself in her one great passion, her fantasy art. When Sophia’s dad tells her he has bought an island that he plans to turn into a luxury resort and he wants her to view it, all Sophia sees is the possibility of a trip with her dad and the incredibly rare chance to spend some quality time with him. Things do not go as planned, however, and Sophia soon finds herself alone and frightened in a battle for survival on an island that shows every hint of being terrifying.
As a reader who is long past his childhood days, I still thoroughly enjoyed this romp. Author T. X. Troan has created a scenario that many of his target audience will be more than aware of – a child neglected of time and attention by a parent desperately trying to make material advances in their situation. The character of Sophia was wonderfully written with many layers of personality explored as the journey unraveled. For a children’s book, there was still plenty of drama, conflict and even violence but the author’s moral tale was well preserved and the scariness inherent in the story was more than tolerable. It is a fine balance between scaring a young audience half to death and imparting a great moral lesson. I think Troan has found that balance well in this tale. The pictures were a great adjunct to the text. If your children are mature and capable of handling the conflict scenes, I think this is an excellent book to encourage young people to read. It hits all the right notes in action and character development and imparts a wonderful lesson to young readers. As an aged 'child' myself, I can recommend this book very highly.