Over lockdown I’ve been reading a lot of children’s books. It started with a former head teacher neighbour lending H twenty books and I couldn’t resist reading them too. I’ve discovered some new authors and read more books by old favourites. Children’s or adults’ books alike, I do enjoy reading books set in historical situations. It has proved to be a great way of learning more history and it’s often inspired me to get googling to find out more or led me onto other books on the subject. So I was interested in the idea of reading The White Phoenix by Catherine Randall published by The Book Guild Publishing.
The White Phoenix is set in London in 1666. Lizzie, her siblings and her mother return to London from the countryside, where they had been taking refuge from the plague. Lizzie arrives home to the news that her father has suddenly died. The family have to come to terms with their loss and keep their family bookshop business going. The book is set against the background of being at war with France and Lizzie comes across prejudice, blackmail and mob violence in her efforts to protect the bookshop she loves. Then the Great Fire of London breaks out….
This is Catherine Randall’s first novel and it’s very well written. The characters are well drawn and the historical background seems accurate. It’s easy to warm to Lizzie and identify with her as you follow her adventures in Charles II’s London. The story is well paced and draws you in. Many of the themes explored made chime into today’s news, but I think that’s more from the perspective of an adult reader. I really enjoyed the book and I hope Catherine Randall goes on to write more children’s fiction. The book is recommended for 7 to 11 years, but I would say it appeals upwards beyond that age range.
I have a copy of the book to give away to readers. Enter via the Gleam widget below.
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6. Competition closes 27th September 2020.