The theme and motto of this book is
Never ignore a possible
"On the morning of its first birthday, a baby was found floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel."
"Think of night-time with a speaking voice. Or think how moonlight might talk, ... give those things a narrow face with hooked eyebrows, and long arms and legs, and that is what the baby saw as she was lifted out of her cello case and up into safety. His name was Charles Maxim, and he determined ... he would keep her."
Naturally the authorities do not approve of these arrangements.
"The child is your ward. She is not your daughter.' This was the sort of woman who spoke in italics. You would be willing to lay bets her hobby was organising people."
Sophie lives a happy, if somewhat odd life, with Charles until she turns twelve. At this time the aforementioned authorities arrive this time with plans to move Sophie into more suitable accommodation - an orphanage.
Sophie has a deep longing in her heart. She knows her precious mother is still alive somewhere in the world. She is certain, absolutely certain, that her mother was a musician who played the cello. Sophie is a resilient, intrepid and daring young girl with extraordinary climbing skills. When she discovers the name of the cello maker hidden inside her cello case her course is set. She and Charles now need to move quickly, run away to Paris, find the cello maker and in turn find Sophie's mother.
While in Paris, Charles and Sophie stay in a run down hotel. Sophie climbs onto the roof and there she meets a young Rooftopper - a boy called Matteo.
Here are a few more quotes to demonstrate the beauty of this writing.
For their train trip to Paris Sophie travels in a small carriage usually reserved for the children of the Duke of Kent. "The carriage was beautiful. Everything was child-sized and made with the delicacy and detail of witch-craft."
Sophie and Charles race across Paris to the cello maker. "It was ten minutes' walk; ten minutes through cobbled streets, and window boxes full of red carnations, ... ten minutes in which Sophie's heart looped the loop and danced a jitterbug".
Matteo and Sophie share a feast provided by Charles (who perhaps knows more than he is letting on).
"The pack was full of parcels wrapped in greaseproof paper. ... bread rolls, four of them, soft in the middle and dusted with flour at the top. They were still warm from the oven and they smelt of blue skies. The bread had been spread by someone with strong opinions about butter - it was as thick as the first joint on Sophie's thumb."
If you enjoy Rooftoppers - actually when you read Rooftoppers - please read this book - you should also look for The three loves of Persimmon, The invention of Hugo Cabret, The truth about Verity Sparks, Secret letters from 0-10 and Withering by Sea. I also thought of Journey to the River Sea and Tensy Farlow.
There is a musical score right through Rooftoppers. Perhaps you could listen to a little of it to set the mood. You can read a more detailed description of the plot here. Here is a video with the author.
I held my breath through most of this book and then I held my breath when I clicked on the Kirkus review. YES!!! They loved this book too.