HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE
by: Diana Wynne Jones
published in 1986
I was between stacks of reading material this week, so I reread one of my favorites. This book is full of chapters called things like "Chapter 5, Which Is Far Too Full of Washing" and "Chapter 6, In Which Howl Expresses His Feelings With Green Slime". Plus it's got Howl, the consummate talented, vain and charming man with a well-hidden heart of gold. Diana Wynne Jones is a prolific and talented author, and this is probably her best work. No one else could have pulled it off.
Sophie is a beautiful young lady until the Witch of the Waste curses her with old age.To break the curse, she makes a deal with a fire demon named Calcifer--if she can free him from the heartless wizard Howl, Calicifer promises to break the enchantment that makes her old. From the very beginning I wanted this to be a love story--but how could it be, when she calls all the eligible bachelors "young man" and works as Howl's cleaning lady?
I give this my highest recommendation.