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Free on 1st Jan 70
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Isabella Rockwell’s father is killed in action in India. Shipped back to Britain, she discovers her father’s pension will not be released to her, and escapes onto the streets. Joining up with a group of urchins, her skills as a healer, storyteller and performer she makes a new life, returning to India only a distant dream – until the day she catches the bridle of a runway horse to save the young rider, and is accidentally caught up in affairs of state, and treason.

A charming blend of The Little Princess and Oliver Twist, this children’s story is a delight. Extremely capable and resourceful, but still very much a child, Isabella Rockwell is a likeable, intelligent, heroine. The other characters are equally well-developed, the twist is unexpected, and the writing easy to follow.

My only complaint is the anachronistic tone and speech mannerisms, which are entirely modern, but as this is a children’s book I will let that go. As a historical work it would be marked down; as an exciting children’s story it conveys meaning clearly to its intended audience and makes it easier to read. Also, it wasn’t until I read the blurb that I realised Isabella was meant to be 15; she comes across as far younger (and historically at 15 they wouldn’t ship her back to Britain – as a sergeant’s daughter she’d be fostered for a year and married off).

There are sample chapters of a sequel in the back. For once this didn’t annoy me: I looked the next book up. If the author can bring the next chapter of Isabella’s life to life as clearly as the first, this will be a series to follow. Children, particularly those who can read it alone should love this, or it would make a great bedtime story read over several nights and even adults looking for a relaxing and easy read might find this enjoyable.

Free on 1st Jan 70
View on Amazon.co.uk

Reviews:

"Children, particularly those who can read it alone should love this, or it would make a great bedtime story read over several nights and even adults looking for a relaxing and easy read might find this enjoyable."

Reviewer: .


Isabella Rockwell's father is killed in action in India. Shipped back to Britain, she discovers her father's pension will not be released to her, and escapes onto the streets. Joining up with a group of urchins, her skills as a healer, storyteller and performer she makes a new life, returning to India only a distant dream - until the day she catches the bridle of a runway horse to save the young rider, and is accidentally caught up in affairs of state, and treason.

A charming blend of The Little Princess and Oliver Twist, this children's story is a delight. Extremely capable and resourceful, but still very much a child, Isabella Rockwell is a likeable, intelligent, heroine. The other characters are equally well-developed, the twist is unexpected, and the writing easy to follow.

My only complaint is the anachronistic tone and speech mannerisms, which are entirely modern, but as this is a children's book I will let that go. As a historical work it would be marked down; as an exciting children's story it conveys meaning clearly to its intended audience and makes it easier to read.

There are sample chapters of a sequel in the back. For once this didn't annoy me: I looked the next book up. If the author can bring the next chapter of Isabella's life to life as clearly as the first, this will be a series to follow. Children, particularly those who can read it alone should love this, or it would make a great bedtime story read over several nights and even adults looking for a relaxing and easy read might find this enjoyable.

However I must add one addendum to this review: This book is also available as Winter's Bite, the Isabella Rockwell trilogy part one. This version ages Isabella up to 15, without changing any other details, and it is to the story's detriment: e.g. the age of consent was 13 (it was raised to that in 1875) so she would have been married, not shipped back to London.

Rating: 4 (Children), 2 (adult and YA)



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