THE SECRET OF THE ROSE by Sarah L. Thomson


Age Range: 10 - 14
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Rosalind and her younger brother Robin are the children of a wool merchant, turned out of their comfortable home when their secretly Catholic father is imprisoned. They make their way to Elizabethan London to find him, in short order losing their carefully hoarded coins and possessions and discovering that their father has died in prison. Robin is distracted by and soon taken in by players who need a tumbling boy. Rosalind chops off her hair and dresses as a boy to keep herself safer as well as to protect her brother. As Richard, she catches the eye of the brooding Kit Marlowe—mercurial, secretive—who needs a boy to run his errands and make fair copies of his plays. This fast-paced and accessible tale is full of the dark side of Elizabethan times: spies and informants; persecution of Catholics; stench and disease; fear of immigrants, the plague and of the players themselves. The title refers to the Rose Theatre and to Rosalind’s own secrets of gender and religion. While the historical aspects are clear and not trifled with (she does get to meet Will Shakespeare), it is Rosalind’s story that compels. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-087250-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2006


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