Review Blog

Jan 21 2008

At the house of the magician by Mary Hooper

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Bloomsbury 2007 ISBN 9780747588863
(Age 12+) A fascinating historical novel from Mary Hooper gives insight into Elizabeth times. Afraid of her drunken father, Lucy runs away from home to escape his beatings. On her journey to London to find work she rescues a young girl from a muddy river, and as a reward she is taken on as maid in their father's house. Dr Dee is court magician and consultant to Elizabeth 1 and Lucy is fascinated by the mysterious happenings in the house and longs to work for the Queen.

Hooper's characters are well developed and memorable with an interesting mix of fictional and real peoples. Lucy is a feisty heroine whose curiosity leads her into intrigue and danger. Tomas, the Court jester, adds spice to the tale, and the strangeness of Dr Dee and his beliefs are quite compelling.

Hooper has painted a convincing picture of Tudor England, giving details about the markets, clothing, food and the life of ordinary people as well as those connected to the court. There is even a recipe for making lavender wands at the end of the book as well as a glossary to help the reader with difficult words.

Readers with a taste for history and magic will enjoy this memorable tale. A sequel is to follow.
Pat Pledger

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