Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Gypsy Crown by Kate Forsyth

17th Century England, Oliver Cromwell and the puritans are in power. Dancing, music and even Christmas has been banned. Times are hard on the gypsy who makes his trade in music, dance and magic.

One gypsy family, the Finches, has been working on an estate, but when the daughters is betrothed, to raise money for the dowry they all decide to go to the town of Kingston on market day and ply their gypsy trade. All goes well until they become involved in an accidental death and only young Emilia and Luka escape being thrown in prison.

With the help of a horse, a monkey, a dancing bear and a fiddle the children make their way across the south of England searching for the five gypsy families to find the charms of power each family owns for legend states when the charms come together the luck of the gypsies will return. But everywhere they go they are pursued by Rom hating Puritans and Cromwell’s spies. The children must give up everything they hold dear and trust to the charms if they are to free their family before they are brought to trial that will lead to a death sentence.

Portrayed with gentle humour to counter loss, this fast paced, historical novel woven with magic and mystery is an enjoyable story. The time period has been well researched and there is extra, easy-to-read information in the back for those wishing to know more. However it isn’t a patch on one of my old standing favourites – Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat.