Friday, September 17, 2010

Alchemy & Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman

Meggy Swann is used to being unwanted. Born with crooked legs, her mother couldn't or wouldn't love her. She turned Meggy's care over to her mother, Meggy's grandmother. Granny's death meant change for Meggy. Her mother sends her to the father she's never known, an alchemist in London. Armed with only her walking sticks and her best friend Louise the goose, Meggy finds that she adapts rather well to her new situation. She discovers new strength and inventiveness as she struggles to show her father how useful she can be and ultimately save him from ruin. Meggy finds new friends in Roger, her father's former apprentice, a group of players, the cooper, and the printer.

What I thought: I'd forgotten how much I enjoy Karen Cushman's historical novels. She puts such life into her books. The descriptions were so vivid I felt like I was in Elizabethan England. I became Meggy Swann wincing with every step. The setting was so distinct and well researched. Cushman introduces such wonderful characters--Meggy, Roger, Mistress Grimm and her children (Violet Velvet, Ivory Silk, Silver Damask, and Russet Wool). I loved this book. What I liked most was Meggy coming into who she really is, getting past her crooked legs to her real strength.

(Clarion, April 2010. ARC provided by publisher.)

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