Thursday, May 13, 2010

Alchemy and Meggy Swann


by Karen Cushman
Clarion, 2010. 166 pgs. Fiction
Meggy Swann, a cripple, is sent up to London by a mother glad to be rid of her to her father, an alchemist, who expected a boy. So obsessed with his work he scarcely acknowledges her, Meggy's father leaves her to make her own way in their cold house with scant food. With only the companionship of her goose, Louise, Meggy makes a life for herself, finds some friends, discovers her father's indifferent involvement in an assassination plot and saves someone else's life. In Cushman's practiced hands, Elizabethan England comes to life in all its ghastly splendor and one comes to admire the ". . . ugglesome crook-leg" who doggedly makes the best of a nearly fatally disheartening situation.

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