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The Gypsy Crown

(The Chain of Charms #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  741 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Note: This edition includes five of the six books that were originally published as The Chain of Charms series in Australia. The missing book is The Cat's Eye Shell (The Chain of Charms #4)

Emilia Finch and her cousin Luka are gypsies. For them, that means they live a strongly traditional life, rich with story, music, dance, and magic, governed by the laws of the clan and t
Hardcover, 386 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Hyperion Books for Children (first published November 10th 2007)
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Jane I'd say Historical Fiction with a touch of fantasy/magic in there too.…moreI'd say Historical Fiction with a touch of fantasy/magic in there too.(less)

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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  741 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Dimity Powell
Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-lit
I often rate the kids' lit I read based on my enjoyment of it as my present day self, that is as a forty something, burgeoning children's author and fan of children's writing. Books that fascinate, educate and thrill this current self are not necessarily the same ones that would have enthralled me as a 9 yo girl with an insatiable appetite for stories. Kate Forsyth's first instalment of The Chain of Charms series, The Gypsy Crown, wins five stars from me; not the author me, not the mother who wa ...more
For a middle grade book, it took a while for the story to kick in. I was presently surprised to be transported into England under Cromwell's rule.

After their family is arrested, Emilia and Luka are set on a quest by their grandma to collect the five charms that have been divided between the main gypsy families.

There's a lot of hiding from bad guys, running from bad guys, and righting the bad guys' wrongs.
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My Thoughts:
The Gypsy Crown is an excellently written book by Kate Forsyth. I was benefitted in several ways by reading it. I was able to learn new words because of the slightly historic language. The enlargement of my vocabulary is always a plus for me. Secondly, I enjoyed learning about a new culture. I'd never really been able to learn about Gypsies and their beliefs, and I found most of the facts about them interesting, such as most of them do not have one home due to their travels. The plot
This book draws the reader from the beautiful cover art into a story full of adventure, danger, and history, as the two main protagonists, Luka and Emilia, members of a Rom family in Cromwell’s Puritan England, seek out the members of four other Rom families for assistance in getting their family out of jail before they come to trial and are all executed. Traveling with them are Emilia’s horse, Alida, their performing bear, Sweetheart, their dog, Rollo, and Luka’s monkey, Zizi.

Emilia has been i
Bronwyn Rykiert
I really enjoyed this story about Gypsys in England during the time of Oliver Cromwell. Even though the series is for YA I liked it and look forward to listening to the rest of series as Amelia and Lukor look for the missing charms.

I read this for the Aussie Readers Challenge, that is the interesting thing about challenges you are sometimes set to read book that you would not normally read because they fit into the challenge, as does this one.
Things begin a tiny bit slowly at first, but despite that I did enjoy this story quite a bit. Emilia and Luka are both intelligent, strong, and courageous young kids, and despite Luka's unbelief in the charms, he humors Emilia rather than quarreling with her, which of course ends up saving them in the end. My biggest complaint is that the characters drag along way too many animals in the beginning. I love animal characters, but in a fast-paced adventure like this one, where Emilia and Luka are c ...more
Oct 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Maybe Spooky, Miss Keks
Book 1 (of six) about two Gypsy children, Emilia and Luka, trying to restore the Chain of Charms and free their family from prison, or rather, from the gallows.

Set in Oliver Cromwell's time - 17th century England - this story is entertaining while also providing some historical background on the time period more generally, but also on the lives of Gypsies. There's quite a cast of characters, and it is a bit confusing in the beginning to keep them all separate, different and large Gypsy families,
Nov 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Kate by:
Even though this book was found in my local library's YA section, I think it's a better fit for middle grade. The main character, Emilia, is only 10 or 11, and this book was originally published as a 6-book series - meaning the original books were probably pretty thin.

I enjoyed the story. I was surprised to find so much historical fiction in it (the story takes place during Cromwell's reign in England). After their family is arrested, two gypsy children, Emilia and her brother Luka, go on a ques
Karen Field
Feb 09, 2012 rated it liked it
This is the first book in a series of six.

It is the story of two gypsy families meeting to come to a marriage agreement for two of their teenagers. After the deal is made, one family heads off to a nearby town to sing and dance to help raise the dowry and are charged with a number of things including murder! All except two youngsters are imprisoned (two cousins who are 13 year olds and manage to escape). Their names are Luka and Emilia. It's up to these two to find help and free the rest of the
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting historical novel with just the right touch of fantasy elements. I also liked how this story had a boy/girl team working together, but didn't bring romance into the story. (Although I thought there might have been a spark between Emilia and Tom...oh well, squires' sons and gypsies' daughters don't exactly mix.)

Apparently, in Australia, this was published as a series of six books, which were compiled and edited together into the book that I read. Evidently, one entire book (The Ca
Dec 13, 2007 rated it liked it
I picked up this book because I really enjoyed Kate Forsyth's witch books.
"The Gypsy Crown" is a children's tale, so it lost a lot of the grit and flavor of the adult witch books. It was a good story, and it is one I plan to read to my 7-year-old son in about a year. I also appreciate its focus on right and wrong. There isn't a lot of that around anymore these days.

As an adult, however, it didn't carry over as some other children's books have. Of course, those "children's" books that I have enj
Jan 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended for gr. 5-9. Historical fiction which takes place in England during the time of Oliver Cromwell (1658). Thirteen-year-old Emilia is Rom, otherwise known as a Gypsy. After her family is thrown in jail, she and her cousin, accompanied by their dancing bear named Sweetheart, trained monkey, and faithful dog, make their way around the London area. They are trying to bring together five charms which used to hang together on a chain. Their grandmother, a wise woman, has told Emilia that br ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is amazing! All Kate Forsyth lovers must read it! This book started when Emilia's stepmother accidentally murdered a policeman ( I hate saying ;killed;) and the whole family was put in prison! Only Emilia &Luka managed to escape.They had to find five charms &in 10 days,before their whole family was beheaded!Even as they faced terrible dangers,they managed to free their family! I just hope that you will enjoy as much as I did! ...more
Jan 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Gypsies in Europe during the time of Cromwell. Most of the family gets jailed for singing, dancing, and entertaining in the town. Two kids escape and have to find 4 more charms to a good luck bracelet so the gypsies will have good luck again. So there is a little bit of magic, lots of running and hiding (bad guys chasing them of course, and in the end triumph. A pretty good read. I learned some history as well.
Dec 15, 2012 rated it liked it
I know this is basically a teenage book but it was well written and sort of fun to read. It managed to have a good story line and even though it was just one of those relaxing books that you can read in a couple of days it was worth it. A lot of it was based on actual history so of course I always like a good historical fiction. This was more like all fiction but a nice little sort of fairy story.
Neill Smith
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
During Cromwell’s rebellion against the English royalty, gypsies (or Rom as they are known in this book) are persecuted by the members of Cromwell’s court. Emilia’s and Luka’s family are into prison and it is up to the two children to protect the family’s animals, recover their magical charms, and rescue their siblings and parents.
An enjoyable book. Its strongest points are setting and plot: there is great historical detail and an interesting plot premise. I liked how this book helped me to imagine what it was like for the Rom people during Cromwell's reign. Also I liked finding out things about Rom culture.

Weak points: some shallow characters and a bit of predictability in plot.

Lisa Galet klug
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is adolescent fiction so a kid could read it. It helped me understand more about the Gypsy or Roma way of life. That, of course, makes it easier for me to understand my Roma Hungarian students. They are not just having a hard time because Hungarian is so different from English but because their entire way of life is different.
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a fast paced adventure story for younger readers starring, for a breath of fresh air, some Romany gypsies facing persecution in Cromwellian England. Enjoyable and fun, this story reminds me an awful lot of more 'old fashioned' storytellers tales like those by Enid Blyton. Minus the problematic classist/sexist/racist overtones of course. GET IN, KIDS! ...more
Oct 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The historical background of 17th century England was rather fascinating in this book. The hatred the Puritans had for anything different than themselves.
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Great for younger readers.
Amanda O'Shea
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved the history, the imagery and the adventure in this story. I am so pleased that it is a series and I can read more!
Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I've read this book multiple times and I love it. ...more
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There’s something fun and special about a well-written story that is based in history. I’ve never been one to actually study history (mainly because I found it boring in high school), so reading a book that is so beautifully crafted around a historical moment is thoroughly enjoyable. Plus, it’s a great way to learn about English history, alongside the tolerance of others. Forsyth drives home the importance of accepting those who are different to us, even if we don’t quite understand them.

I love
Aug 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a quick and engaging read. I haven't read a lot (any?) historical fiction written for a middle grade audience before, and I think Kate Forsyth (unsurprisingly) does a pretty great job. I feel like this doesn't pull any punches about the persecution of certain communities during Cromwell's rule, and also the reality of this - there is a lot of talk about hanging etc in here. I loved the facts in the back about who the people in the book really were, as well as the introduction that gives ...more
Sean Harding
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating blend of history and fantasy in the first of the six book series. This is my second series from Forsyth after reading The Impossible Quest.
This book was a really good read, entertaining as well as you felt like you were reading history come alive. It had a similar feel of a long chase sequence to the other book, I wonder if that will be through the whole series.
Anyway a great start to the series.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great children's series ........ ...more
Alison Condliffe
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Took me a while to get going but then I was gripped by this story of gypsies and charms. I really like that it is cemented in historical details of Cromwell. Well drawn characters and action packed.
Lila M
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think this book is really amazing and kind of says that not all gypsies are bad. I also think it’s cool how it actually connects with things that have actually happened throughout that time period.
Megan Broadway
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An adorable children’s book, would recommend to anyone!
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Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling author of 40 books for both adults and children.

Her books for adults include 'Beauty in Thorns', the true love story behind a famous painting of 'Sleeping Beauty'; 'The Beast's Garden', a retelling of the Grimm version of 'Beauty & the Beast', set in the German underground resistance to Hitler in WW

Other books in the series

The Chain of Charms (6 books)
  • The Silver Horse (The Chain of Charms, #2)
  • The Herb of Grace (Chain of Charms #3)
  • The Cat's Eye Shell (Chain of Charms #4)
  • The Lightning Bolt (Chain of Charms #5)
  • The Butterfly in Amber (Chain of Charms #6)

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