The Company of Eight by Harriet Whitehorn
|The Company of Eight by Harriet Whitehorn|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: A likeable heroine who is a gifted acrobat, deadly danger from an unexpected source and the very slightest hint of a love interest make this a thoroughly enjoyable read. There's magic (but only a little), sword-fighting women and circus routines to take your breath away.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 208||Date: May 2018|
|Publisher: Stripes Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
Fourteen-year-old orphan Cass lives in the Magical District, but as she hasn't the slightest ability in that direction she doesn't exactly fit in. She takes after her dad, and she hopes desperately that she'll pass the upcoming auditions for acrobats and join the Circus Boat as it tours to give performances on all the islands of the Longest World. Her guardian Mrs Potts, however, does not approve: her hope that Cass will demonstrate magical abilities like her mother's (and make Mrs Potts very rich) has been disappointed so she is determined her ward will take on a sedate, genteel job instead: governess, maybe, or draper's model. So poor Cass is reduced to practising her routines in secret, using an old book her father left her.
Disaster strikes when Cass is made to miss the auditions she's dreamed about for so long and, worse still, learns she is to take up work immediately as companion to an elderly lady. In despair she runs away, determined to spend the year on the Island of Women where her mother, also an orphan, was brought up, while she waits for the next set of Circus auditions. But unfortunately she encounters people en route who spot her athletic abilities and determine to use them for their own evil purposes, putting Cass in deadly peril. Encountering pirates, being sold into slavery, earning the lifelong hatred of a brutal and devious man and almost drowning are, would you believe, not the worst things that happen to our heroine, and readers will be racing through the pages to discover just how poor Cass manages to escape each successive predicament. And behind it all, hidden in the shadows that surround her, is the Company of Eight. Who are these mysterious women, and what do they want with Cass?
Readers at the younger end of the age range will enjoy another series by Ms Whitehorn, about a ten-year-old girl who solves crimes. Bookbag particularly recommends Violet and the Pearl of the Orient and Violet and the Smugglers. If you fancy something a bit more lighthearted, where the pirates are (almost) the good guys, there are the cheerful The Very Nearly Honourable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson and The Accidental Pirates: Voyage to Magical North by Claire Fayers, which both enjoy some wondrous names and general silliness. And for deadly peril, thoroughly nasty villains and all the glitz and glamour of showbiz, try A Boy Called M.O.U.S.E by Penny Dolan. Just don't try reading the school section of this last one while you're eating!
You can read more book reviews or buy The Company of Eight by Harriet Whitehorn at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Company of Eight by Harriet Whitehorn at Amazon.com.
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