FLAME-COLORED TAFFETA

The preeminent master of British historical fiction for young people turns her hand to the 18th century, a story of smugglers on the Sussex coast and an emissary of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Damaris, farmer's daughter, and Peter, vicar's son, are secretly nursing an injured vixen in an abandoned woodland cottage; when Damaris finds a wounded man nearby, they assume he's a smuggler. Enlisting the aid of Genty, the wise woman and healer, they house him with the vixen, extricate a bullet, and do their best to nurse him. The man calls himself Tom Wildgoose, and he carries letters for the lost cause to which he is ruefully loyal. The vixen, cured, runs free; when the squire's hounds trail her to the cottage, endangering Damaris, Tom heroically poses as a French smuggler and is captured. His subsequent escape is exciting but bittersweet: Damaris never sees him again, but five years later he sends her, as promised, flame-colored taffeta for her wedding petticoat. In Sutcliff's hands, this conventional plot is transformed by skillfully evocative use of historical detail, deft orchestration of characters and events, and balanced, economical use of language. Both lively adventure and love story, it should find a wider audience than books she has set in the more distant past.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 1986

ISBN: 0374423415

Page Count: 129

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1986

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2020

  • New York Times Bestseller

THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS

A monster spreads madness through the streets of Shanghai.

It is the autumn of 1926, and Shanghai is poised at the brink of transformation. Foreign powers have carved out portions of the city for themselves; what remains is divided between two feuding gangs, the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers. Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai has returned home from New York City, wreathed in a reputation for ruthlessness and ready to step into her role as heir to the Scarlet Gang. Four years ago, a betrayal by the White Flowers heir, Roma Montagov, a young man of 19, led to the deaths of countless Scarlets, and Juliette is determined to avenge her gang. But when a lethal contagion strikes the city, targeting Scarlets and White Flowers alike, Juliette and Roma grudgingly agree to cooperate on an investigation in order to save their city. The slow-burning romance in this book takes a back seat to the gripping mystery grounded in immersive historical detail. Allusions to Romeo and Juliet are evident in names and specific scenes, but familiar themes of family, loyalty, and identity bear new significance in Gong’s inventive adaptation. Language is a tool wielded deftly by the multilingual characters, who switch easily among English, French, Shanghainese, Russian, and more, with Mandarin as the primary dialect for Chinese phrases. A strong supporting cast that includes a trans girl completes this striking debut.

A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5769-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Both a poignant contemplation on 9/11 and a necessary intervention in this current political climate.

ALL WE HAVE LEFT

This election cycle, with its exacerbated Islamophobia, makes author Mills' (Positively Beautiful, 2015) fictive meditation on 9/11 and the 15 years after especially timely.

The book opens with Travis McLaurin, a 19-year-old white man trying to protect Alia Susanto, a 16-year-old hijab-wearing Indonesian-American Muslim, from the debris caused by the South Tower's destruction. The next chapter takes place 15 years later, with Travis' younger sister, Jesse, defacing a building with an Islamophobic slogan before the police catch her. The building, readers learn later, is the Islam Peace Center, where Jesse must do her community service for her crime. Between these plot points, the author elegantly transitions between the gripping descriptions of Alia and Travis trying to survive and Jesse almost falling into the abyss of generational hatred of Islam. In doing so, she artfully educates readers on both the aspects of Islam used as hateful stereotypes and the ruinous effects of Islamophobia. With almost poetic language, the author compassionately renders both the realistic lives, loves, passions, and struggles of Alia ("There's a galaxy between us, hung thick with stars of hurt and disappointment) and Jesse ("I'm caught in a tornado filled with the jagged pieces of my life") as both deal with the fallout of that tragic day.

Both a poignant contemplation on 9/11 and a necessary intervention in this current political climate. (timeline, author's note) (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61963-343-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

more