London, 1666. After the sudden death of her father, thirteen-year-old Lizzie Hopper and her mother take over The White Phoenix – the family bookshop in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral.
But England is at war with France and everywhere there are whispers of dire prophecies. As rumours of invasion and plague spread, Lizzie battles prejudice, blackmail and mob violence to protect the bookshop she loves.
When the Great Fire of London breaks out, Lizzie must rescue more than just the bookshop. Can she now save the friend she wasn’t supposed to have?
Title: The White Phoenix
Author: Catherine Randall
Release Date:28th August 20202
Page Count: 213
Publisher: The Book Guild Publishing
This book was several firsts for me, it was the first middle grade book I have read and also the first book I have read surrounding the topic of The Great Fire of London. This book has everything you could ever want, a rebellious child, historical London, topics of importance such as the ideologies of women and the working class and a bookshop.
With the book being middle grade, admittedly it wasn’t hard to read, but I simply couldn’t put it down – throughout I was engrossed with the drama and the history, constantly empathising with the characters and their struggles and imagining ways to hurt the books antagonist, Master Pedley, who is one scheming, mean man who believe a woman simply can not run a business without a man – honestly, the worst type of person.
There was never a moment where something wasn’t happening, whether that be The Great Fire of London, the plague, the prejudices against the French and Catholics or someone, mainly Lizzie being on the brink of trouble. At every page something new and worrying was happening, but wasn’t written in a way that it was overwhelming, they all seamlessly intertwined together to create a huge climax. As I said, with it only being a middle grade book it wasn’t the most amazing piece of literature I have read, I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless and I’m pretty certain that younger people will do also. It’s very important to teach the age group about the history of London and the attitudes towards women and foreigners and how much things have changed, but it does it in an enjoyable way.
I adored the character of Lizzie and very much admired her consistency of wanting to do right who and what she believed in, and going against the ‘norms’ of the society and she knew they were wrong. I think she’s a great character for younger people to read about it as she inspires compassion and doing the right thing, even if sometimes she doesn’t do as she’s told.
If you would like to add this book to your Goodreads, click here.
If you would like to purchase this book on Amazon, click here.