The story is told by Coriander, daughter of a silk merchant in 1650s London. Her idyllic childhood ends when her mother dies and her father goes away, leaving Coriander with her stepmother, a widow who is in cahoots with a fundamentalist Puritan preacher. She is shut away in a chest and left to die, but emerges into the fairy world from which her mother came, and where time has no meaning. When she returns, charged with a task that will transform her life, she is seventeen. This is a book filled with enchantments -- a pair of silver shoes, a fairy shadow, a prince transformed into a fox - that contrast with the heartbreaking loss and cruelty of Coriander's life in the real world. With its brilliantly realized setting of old London Bridge, and underpinned by the conflict between Royalists and Puritans, it is a terrific page turner, involving kidnapping, murder and romance, and an abundance of vivid characters.
'completely engaging' -- Jennifer Taylor THE BOOKSELLER 'a beautifully written story. Sally Gardner has clearly researched the times and customs very well indeed for she had me transported back to that far off time. I would definitely recommend this book, told with such care and feeling.' -- Muriel Barking NEW BOOKS 'Beautifullly written, completely absorbing story... the author evokes the streets of London and the political upheavals of the day with compelling ease. -- Christine Kidney THE BOOK MAGAZINE 'will captivate readers with its riveting and detailed parallel storylines, its intriguingly drawn characters, and, above all, its engrossing first person narration' -- Marla Arback YABOOKSCENTRAL.COM 'the skillful writing sweeps through mid-seventeenth century London.' SCHOOL LIBRARIAN 'a thrilling story that mixes historic realism, credible characters and the dreamy, sometimes violent, dimension of a netherworld. The two blend seamlessly in this gripping and orginal story that abounds with gritty suspense. An excellent read.' -- Mary Arrigan SUNDAY TRIBUNE 'a book filled with enchantment and difference. You won't read many novels as beautifully written and as enthralling as this rich, spellibinding, new-off-the-black fairy tale.' -- John Millen SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
Sally Gardner is an award-winning novelist from London. Her books have been translated into 22 languages and have sold more than 1 million copies in the UK. Sally continues to be an avid spokesperson for dyslexia awareness, working to change the way it is perceived by society. She was recently awarded the CARNEGIE MEDAL and the COSTA BOOK AWARD. Visit her website at http://www.sallygardner.net, and follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TheSallyGardner and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SallyGardner.Author