I think this is another one that the lovely Charlotte at Charlotte’s Library recommended.
The Silver Bowl by Diane Stanley. Molly was only seven when her abusive father decided she was too much trouble to take care of anymore. He got her a job as a scullery maid at the castle. During their brief farewell, Molly’s room-bound mother gave her the lovely silver necklace her father had given her and told her to wear it, but keep it hidden. It’s a small link to the family heritage of seeing visions that Molly has just found out that she and her mother share. It takes some quick learning to fit in at the castle, but knowing she has nowhere else to go, Molly is motivated. She makes friends with another lowly castle employee, Tobias, the donkey boy. After a few years as a scullery maid, she is taken by Thomas, the silver master, to help with the silver polishing. There she is given the job of polishing the great silver bowl, used by the royal family for washing hands before meals. It’s filled with intricate designs, and every time Molly polishes it, it grows warm in her hands and draws her into visions. Through these she learns that the bowl is filled with curses aimed at the royal family, which the visions want her to break. As she pieces together what a person of her lowly position might be able to do about this, the plot heats up until the life of the prince and the fate of the entire kingdom are resting in her hands. This is a lovely below-the-stairs medieval fantasy, with class playing an important part. Even when Molly and Prince Alaric are put in a position where they have to talk to each other, there’s great consciousness that this is not the normal order of things. Earlier on, her efforts to stop things going wrong in the first place are seriously hampered by her position as a young serving girl, as well as her unorthodox methods of knowing things. Though this is definitely a fantasy, Molly’s visions aren’t something that anybody else in her world could be expected to believe. There’s some second-hand gore here, so while most of this is suitable for middle grade students, those highly sensitive or on the lower end of the age range might want to avoid it. The writing holds up beautifully for readers of the intended age and up – my mother snagged it off my table and finished it in two sittings.