Carolynne's Reviews > Alchemy and Meggy Swann

Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman
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's review
Sep 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: audiobooks, england, historical-fiction

Like Cushman's other heroines Alys (The Midwife's Apprentice)and Matilda Bone, Meggy Swann is orphaned (almost) and unloved. Born with a disability we now know is bilateral hip dysplasia, she is short-tempered and generous with her insults, but when she is summarily dumped by her bar-keeper mother on her father (the Alchemist, who first neglects her and then abandons her)she needs to learn to cope. Hence, alchemy. As in _Matilda Bone_ the book is filled with quirky adult characters who come to life in Katherine Kellgren's reading, including Meggy's neglectful father. This book, however has some delightful child characters: Meggy's first friend, Roger, Nicholas the cooper's son, and the characters with possibly the most original and beautiful names I've encountered in fiction: the player's daughters Violet Velvet, Silver Damask, and Ivory Silk! The enchanting little girls are named after the fabric used in the costumes their father wears. And there is even a cross-tempered goose named Louise, who has her own little impairment. The audio version is excellent.

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