Diamond Of Drury Lane, The Paperback – Mar 28 2008
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"'These books will keep readers hooked until the end' Bookseller; 'Pacy...A most engaging read' Books for Keeps; 'An eminently satisfying and delightful read' Sunday Tribune; 'Hugely enjoyable romp of a tale' School Librarian; 'A colourful, action-packed story' Publishing News 'A highly enjoyable story full of adventure, likeable character and sharp, witty dialogue' Anti-slavery magazine. 'Rip-roaring saga...thoroughly entertaining...lively and absorbing' The Times Educational Supplement; 'This is rollicking historical fiction at its best, a great read' Sunday Express"
About the Author
Julia Golding read English at Cambridge then joined the Foreign Office and served in Poland. Her work as a diplomat took her from the high point of town twinning in the Tatra Mountains to the low of inspecting the bottom of a Silesian coal mine. On leaving Poland, she exchanged diplomacy for academia and took a doctorate in the literature of the English Romantic Period at Oxford. She then joined Oxfam as a lobbyist on conflict issues, campaigning at the UN and with governments to lessen the impact of conflict on civilians living in war zones. Married with three children, Julia now lives in Oxford. The Diamond of Drury Lane won the Nestle Children's Book Prize 2006 and the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2006.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Cat Royal bounces onto the stage of our imaginations full of wit, true humor, and sparkle. She is one of those unforgettable characters that you rarely meet, and she brings us along for big unforgettable adventures as well. Plenty of excitement, history, and laughter, this is a book you don't want to miss. Though not well known, I'm sure it will be in the future- this is one of those rare diamonds that you never find unless you look. If your looking for a gift, a new series for your child ages 10-14, this is a great one, it may even get them interested in reading more. A different book, and not one of those fantasy knock offs that are lining the children's fiction shelves these days- this is the real thing, with a wonderful story to tell!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I can't give this book any fair review as English is not my first language and I'm not good reviewing. However, this book had me from start to finish, a truly engaging and fantastic book which should be read if you like similar books.
Oh well, just read it and write a better review. :-)
Unfortunately, for me.. I was very misguided in the fact that this book was in the YA section and not the Middle Grade section. The book is very MG and quite predictable, as well as NOT that much of a mystery. There were parts I liked and enjoyed and the characters are great but honestly it was just a giant book of subliminal lesson teaching to 8-12 year olds.
My other complaint is that the book is a BIG book that dragged out, by page 150 I was only JUST beginning to learn the plot. I rarely complain that a book is too long, usually the opposite is said. However, someone should have heavily edited The Diamon of Drury Lane, the story and atomosphere could have easily been told is less than 200 pages. In fact, I have seen many books, with far more substance do just that.
With that being said... The Diamond of Drury Lane is not a bad book, it is just not a book that should be in the YA section. The right age group would most likely enjoy this book and series. It just wasn't my cup of tea.
If you've been reading my reviews for long, you'll notice a pattern of me falling in love with girls who are smart, strong, and smart-alecky with a twist. Catherine Royal is all of the above and more! This is the second book in a row I've read that involves the main character living in a theater, which I found to be really interesting as I rarely have some of the same characteristics in books by two different authors - hope that made sense. (The other is Eyes Like Stars).
Cat is an orphan who doesn't know who her parents were, but Mr. Sheridan has been her guardian of sorts since she was left on the steps of the theater. She's grown up around the raucous gangs of Covent Garden, knows which areas of London she should avoid at all costs, knows everyone and everything that goes on in the theater, and has a heart of gold that gets her into some serious hot water.
Her troubles start when she overhears Mr. Sheridan talking about the diamond that is hidden in the theater. She promises to keep the secret, and she does so quite well until Pedro shows up. Accidentally divulging the secret to him, she wonders if she can trust him when she finds him looking for the diamond. Add in the new stage prompter who is more than he seems, a bully with ethics and a bully that would be better off in Newgate (prison for those of you that don't know), and you've got yourself one rip-roaring story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
I also absolutely adore how this novel was designed. You have a lovely listing of the cast of characters at the beginning of the story, as well as a map of London and a word of warning from Cat herself (as she is the narrator telling us the story) saying that, "This is not the world of the drawing room and country estate...If you want to survive in my neighborhood, you have to be prepared to use coarse language that packs a verbal punch." Now, before you get upset about the language, it's the common language of London in the 1790s. It's very different from today's brand of bad language. There is also a list of the slang used in the book at the back which can be quite helpful. Generally speaking the reader will get the gist of what is being said, but sometimes a quick check confirming your thoughts will make you laugh a little louder.
Can you stand one more glowing bit about the design of the book? It's divided up as a play, with 5 acts, each having 3 - 4 scenes. The beginning of each act has a map of a more detailed location in London, and a quip from Cat about what is going to be happening. Theater lovers take heart! This has enough drama that you'll want to stage this one as a play yourselves!
Notes on the Cover:
Cat peeking out of the curtains at the theater. The girl on the cover is pretty close to how I imagine her, and I like the theater curtains and the feel that she is lurking. Cat does do her fair share of hiding, but it's generally just because she's in the wrong place at the wrong time. She really never intends to go looking for trouble - it is somehow attracted to her.
The 2 page glossary at the back gives young readers insight into the slang of England without being intimidating. A great read aloud for 5th or 6th graders that gives you the opportunity to branch off into historical events from the 1700s.