The Literature Hub
Reviewed by Ashleigh
Author: Mary Hooper
Publisher & Pages: Bloomsbury, 334 pages
Blurb: London, 1670. Fifteen-year-old Eliza Rose is thrown into Clink Prison for stealing a pasty. She is rescued by a brash, grubby woman known as Old Ma Gwyn, but her relief soon turns to horror when she realises the kind of life her new benefactress has in mind for her. Eliza has come to the City to search for her beloved father and a place to call home, but fate seems to be conspiring against her.
From orange seller to highwayman’s moll to lady’s maid, Eliza will take on many remarkable guises, but will she ever find out what she yearns to know – just where it is she truly belongs?
Highlight: It really did feel like it was set in the late 1600’s.
Caution: There are a few characters in this story that are completely fictional, so don’t mistake them for real life people.
Highlight: This story allows you to experience the prisons, the bawdy houses, and the royal court in one.
Caution: The relationship between Eliza and (we’ll call him her crush) felt very one sided. I couldn’t see them together at all.
Review: Midwives in the 17th century were required to take an oath that they would not substitute one child for another. This story is a tale of what would happen if two children were swapped at birth.
Eliza Rose grows up believing that she is the changeling daughter of an impoverished farmer and his wife. But when her mother dies and her father remarries, her step-mother throws her out. Eliza can’t understand why, until her father, who was in London at the time, tells her that she is not his child and he no longer wants her in his house. Now, Eliza Rose is facing an identity crisis.
Just where does she belong? Does her appearance hold a clue? According to the court astrologer, Doctor Deane, she is of noble birth. That doesn’t mean a thing to Eliza, who still longs for a family, but it all comes together in the end. The child who took her place in the noble family dies, and her real family embrace her with open arms.
Generally, I loved this book. It was a beautiful tale of finding oneself, and the descriptions of London in the 1600’s were superb. My biggest gripe is with Eliza’s crush, Valentine.
Judging by the way he’s described, he seems gorgeous. But that’s where his beauty ends. He has a flat personality and sounds like a generic gentleman of the 1600’s. He rescues Eliza from many dangerous situations (when his best friend is the danger), then blames her for getting herself into those situations. It’s not her fault the drunk Henry Monteagle assumes she’s a whore! And then he has the gall to tell her that there can be no respectable connection (read: relationship) between them because she is too low for him. And she still likes him! I can’t understand why. And worst of all, as soon as it is revealed that she is actually from a noble family, her decides he wants her after all. I know that’s probably how it would have happened in real life, so it’s brilliantly written, but I hate the way Eliza just sits back and lets him rule her heart when he disrespects her so often.
Star Rating: 4 stars
Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook