This book is billed as the sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle, but it actually takes a little while for Howl and Sophie to make an appearance. Instead, the main character is a young woman named Charmain, who has been drafted to mind her Great-Uncle’s house while he’s away being cured of some unnamed illness. Turns out, Great-Uncle William is a wizard of some repute, which Charmain knows nothing about, because her mother doesn’t think it’s proper. But his house turns out to be filled with rooms, some existing it different times, and with links to different places.
At the same time, Charmain has been trying to get a job at the Royal Library, and she’s given the opportunity to help the King while his daughter is away. They’re trying to find some missing gold, and that’s where Sophie and Howl come in. Princess Hilda has asked Sophie to come and help with the search, and Howl sneaks along disguised as a small boy.
There’s a lot afoot in this search for the missing gold, and it turns out to be related to Great-Uncle William’s mysterious illness. Charmain ends up being the one person that can save the day.
This is a charming story, and I definitely enjoyed visiting with Sophie, Howl and Calcifer again.