Dawn's Reviews > Alchemy and Meggy Swann

Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman
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's review
Apr 02, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-fiction, upper-elementary-lit, audio, gscba-2013
Read from April 27 to 28, 2011

This saucy novel is set in London during the beginning of the Elizabethan period. Margaret (Meggy) has had a reasonably idyllic life in the country as the much-loved granddaughter of an alehouse owner. Her mother does not want anything to do with her since she cannot walk without the assistance sticks and her father lives in London. We later learn that she was born with hip dysplasia. Gran dies and soon Meggy is sent for by her alchemist father to serve as his laboratory assistant. Meggy arrives, with her goose Louise, at her father's door after a long journey to find a cold and unwelcoming man that considers her useless. Meggy eventually realizes that no one is going to take care of her and sets out to carve a new life for herself. Meggy is made to give up Louise, her only friend, but eventually finds her way around the city and makes some human friends along the way. She has a wonderful spit-fire attitude and can hurl insults with the best of them. When she discovers that there is a plot to kill the Baron, she decides that she must save him at any cost.

I loved the attitude of Meggy and was intrigued by the subject of Alchemy. Karen Cushman includes a wonderful author's note at the story that explains more about alchemy and Queen Elizabeth I's reign. I am hoping for a sequel.

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