Genre: historical fiction
Illustrator : Elizabeth Gatland
Setting: 1930s, 1938, Scotland
Rated : 7 Stars
"You're a brave lassie" That's what my grandfather told me as he gave me his shotgun.
–Elizabeth Wein - The pearl thief - c.2017
Back in 2012 I read and loved Code Name Verity, so when I saw that this was a prequel to that story I had to read it. But if you have never Verity you can still read this. It works perfectly well as a stand alone novel, a tale of mysterious disappearances, possible thefts and possible murders.
Julie, our first person narrator, is home from school for the summer. Well, at her grandparents home that is in the process of being sold off to cover family debts. Her grandfather may have been Earl of Strathfearn, but titles don’t come with an income and bills still need to be paid. But on her first day back she is attacked and wakes up in the hospital with a head injury, unable to remember exactly what happened to her.
As I say, I loved Verity, and loved parts of this. But overall it just didn’t grab me as much as Verity did. I’m not sure why, because there is plenty to enjoy. Julie herself is a great character. She’s witty and intelligent, and sees how unfair the world is to women and to the Scottish Travellers. She is also naive and blind to her own prejudices from time to time, but then again, she is only fifteen years old and we all have our blind spots.
Overall I would recommend this, but more than anything it makes me think that I should really reread Verity…