Saturday, 23 July 2011

At the House of the Magician

At the House of the Magician 

By Mary Hooper


Lucy is a young women living in the Elizabethan era with her mother and father. She and her mother sell gloves and lavender wands for a living and Lucy's father gambles and drinks. Lucy dreams of leaving her father and of becoming a lady-in-waiting for her Majesty. 

One evening, after Lucy's father gambles all of the family's money and furniture away,  Lucy knows that she cannot stay with her father any more. She and her mother agree that she must leave at once but promise to come back and rescue her mother when she has enough money to take her away from her husband and live safely.

The next morning Lucy leaves her mother and decides to walk along the Thames all the way to London. On her way there she meets some children playing outside a almost-abandoned castle and finds out that their parents are looking for maids and will start them working as soon as possible. Lucy is eager to start working and agrees to be a maid for the family. But when Lucy finds out who her master is she is shocked to find out that he is Dr. Dee, her Majesty's magician...

At first Lucy is shocked but then she is excited after she learns that her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth often visits the Dee Castle and Lucy will do anything to see her Majesty.

But one day while Lucy is serving Dr. Dee and one of his assistants she listens a little bit too carefully to their conversation and soon finds out about a secret which she must tell to Her Majesty before it is too late!


I absolutely adore Mary Hooper books because she describes historical events as if she actually witnessed them. As if she was actually there and as if she was the main character and just wrote the book along her adventure. It is books like that that really make you appreciate reading.

I think that this was Mary Hooper's best book yet. She really came up with a new sort of character, one that was young and felt lost in her life. Lucy, also, has never lived on her own before and she does not really know how to provide for herself.  In At the Sign of the Sugared Plum and Petals in the Ashes (two other books written by Mary Hooper) the main character Hannah (who is in both books) is young, but she knows what will happen in her life and she knows how to provide for herself and live on her own. Since Lucy has never never lived on her own she begins to learn how to ... and we learn with her. We learn along the way. We discover the new things at the same time as Lucy does. We know everything from how Lucy puts on her different aprons to how she gets dust out of carpets (by shaking them or by hanging them on posts, then hitting them).  It is a fun side of the book.  I think that a lot of tweens would like it.  I think that they might find it interesting how young maids used to live about four hundred years ago.

I don't really like Queen Elizabeth the first, but since I read At the House of the Magician I have started liking her. Lucy shows such an admiration for Her Majesty and it is kind of addictive! Lucy is always comparing Queen Elizabeth (the first) to other queens of England and in the end Queen Elizabeth seems so much more interesting than them. But Queen Victoria is still my all time favorite queen. She is the longest reigning monarch of England (for the moment).

Mary Hooper has written her best book yet.  A million tweens would love this book and read it over and over again. It is an amazing burst of history on pages, with a memorable main character. Brilliant.

Recommended for tweens 10+.

217 pages

Don't miss the post about my second visit to Kids Books coming out next week!

No comments:

Post a Comment