Going back

28 Aug

I go back to school today. It is a good thing, though I had really bad Sunday Night-itis last night.

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In The Pearl Thief, author Elizabeth Wein goes back in time to tell a story about Julie, the main character from Code Name Verity, before she was Verity.

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I am always nervous to read a new book about a character I love, and doubly so when it is about a character in a book I adored. And I adored Julie and Code Name Verity.

I shouldn’t have worried. Wein knows Julie well and gives us some insights into the girl who will become Verity.

From the author’s website: Not quite sixteen-year-old Julie Beaufort-Stuart is returning to her family’s Perthshire ancestral home in Scotland for one last summer. It is not an idyllic return to childhood. Her grandfather’s death has forced the sale of the house and estate and this will be a summer of goodbyes. Not least to the McEwen family – Highland Travellers who have been part of the landscape for as long as anyone can remember – loved by the family, loathed by the authorities. Tensions are already high when a respected London archivist goes missing, presumed murdered. Suspicion quickly falls on the McEwens, but Julie knows not one of them would do such a thing and is determined to prove everyone wrong. And then she notices the family’s treasure trove of pearls is missing.

This beautiful and evocative novel is the story of the irrepressible and unforgettable Julie, set in the year before the Second World War and the events of Code Name Verity. It is also a powerful portrayal of a community under pressure and one girl’s determination for justice.

As always, Wein firmly sets her novel in its place. I read, I felt as though I was in Scotland, with Julie and even got out my atlas of the UK to figure out where it was all taking place. She gives us some details in back, along with some great info on Travellers and Scottish pearls. But is Julie’s voice that gives the book its power. It was good to get to hear it again.

 

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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