Twelve-year-old Chia is blind and works in a diamond mine. Her only friend is Pip, a duck, and she’s constantly harassed by the mine master, Hitchens. However, her heart isn’t directed at escaping to a better life, but saving her twin sister, Viola, from their cruel stepmother, Priscilla.
However, when Hitchens tells her Viola hates her and sent her to the mines, Chia stands up to him and screams in fury. And that’s when a mysterious lady named Ms. Roberta shows up, ready to whisk Chia away to the most fantastic place on Earth: 66 Lilly Pilly Lane. Although Chia tells Ms. Roberta she’s a terrible girl for abandoning her twin, the mysterious lady dismisses her protests and leads her into the house … where she can suddenly see and Pip can talk. So does Artemis the tree, Jeremy the pink fox, and of course, the shining Ms. Roberta, who’s the living version of a gold statue.
As Chia continues to insist she can’t waste time at the magical house — she must rush to save her sister, who needs her desperately — all the house residents gently inquire if Viola is really the innocent, needy sister Chia believes. She closes her ears to all arguments and convinces the residents to come with her, but no good comes of their trek.
All of Chia’s allies urge her to put own welfare first, rather than worrying about her twin, but even when she sees evidence that her friends are right and Viola really is a selfish girl who sent her sister to the mines, Chia can’t bring herself to give up hope. Things go from bad to worse as a result, and as a result, she once again finds herself blind, while her friends are no longer animated. The inhabitants of Lilly Pilly Lane have been rendered still and silent, while Pip is once again reduced to honking. And still the message Chia received from every creature and person she encounters is the same: you must put yourself first.
The Splendid Secrets of 66 Lilly Pilly Lane is a fairy tale with elements of Cinderella, Snow White, and The Little Match Girl, as well as its own modern components. Elena Paige has created a magical world for all to enjoy.