Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Book Review - The Diamond of Drury Lane

Title: The Diamond of Drury Lane
Author: Julia Golding
Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd
ISBN-13: 978-1405221498

Book 1 in the 'Cat Royal' Series

Cat Royal is a veritable institution at Mr Sheridan’s famous Drury Lane theatre of ye olde London Town, circa 1790. Adopted by the owner after being mysteriously abandoned as a baby on the steps of his infamous establishment, Cat has grown up backstage amidst the glamour of the bright lights, the exotic artistes, hammy actors, melodious musicians and riotous viewing public. The performers are her family, the stagehands her closest friends.
However, Cat is growing up and she is beginning to think about what she wants to do with her life. Those thoughts take an unexpected turn when she overhears a conversation about a diamond hidden somewhere in the theatre. Her adventures begin when she tries to find the treasure. Pedro, a gifted musician who is new to the company orchestra, ably assists her. Ever present too are the political ramifications of a mischievous satirical cartoonist called Captain Sparkler, who some suspect is a very important person nearby in disguise.

My Review
This is technically a re-read, but considering I read it about 3 years ago, it was almost like I was coming to it new.
Cat Royal is abandoned on the steps of the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane as a baby, the owner Mr Sheridan takes her in, and that is where she has lived ever since. Sleeping in the 'Crow's Nest' an old costume store room, and helping out backstage, Cat has become part of the family, the actors are her friends and the script-writers, costume makers etc are her family. When a young Black Boy named Pedro arrives, most treat him with distrust and curiosity, but Cat makes a firm friendship, and he wows them all with his amazing violin skills as well as his ability to dance and act.
When Cat overhears Mr Sheridan talking about a Diamond hidden in the Theatre Cat promises to look after it, but where is it hidden, and why is it here?
I loved reading about Cat's adventures, she is a feisty red-head with a fierce sense of loyalty. From hanging around backstage, to going out on the street and meeting with the gangs. Syd is a Butchers Boy, but he is also the Boxing champion and head of the Convent Garden gang, to which Cat has always wanted to join. Although tough on the outside Syd clearly cares for Cat and does all he can to keep her safe. It's a tough setting and orphans are seen as the lowest scum of society, especially girls. When Cat catches the attention of Billy 'boil' Shephard, the rival gang leader, she has to use all her wits to stay safe, but with doubts about the diamond, Pedro's loyalty, Captain Sparkler the mysetrious cartoonist causing mayhem and the meeting of Lord's and Ladies, Cat has her work cut out for her.
The book is set in London in 1790, Golding really sets the scene and has got even the language down to perfection. Her descriptions are very good, and I could always picture what was happening. The theatre is full of life and character and the words just paint the picture right from the page. 
With a host of great characters, you will be transported to a whole other world. Cat is so full of life and the book is written as if she is talking to you, it really feels like you are a part of her story and almost like you are making a friend.
I would strongly recommend this book and the rest of the series, they are some of the best books i've read, near the top of my list!

My Rating
I would give this book 10/10, so enchanting, and I will definitely be re-reading the rest of the series too, especially since a new book in the series is due out at the beginning of April, so excited. :D   


Aimee said...

I haven't read this book, or even heard of it so thanks for the review. I love books set way back in history.

Lilly Bear ♡ said...

Well, you've convinced me. I must read this book as soon as possible. It sounds absolutely enchanting! Thanks for the recommendation! :)

barmybex said...

thanks to both of you for stopping by.
Theses books are amazing, I'm glad you're going to try it Lilly Bear, I hope you love it as much as I do. :D