Book Review: Alchemy and Meggy Swan

Book Review: Alchemy and Meggy SwanAlchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman
Published by Clarion Books on April 26th 2010
Pages: 173
Goodreads

Fans of Cushman's witty, satisfying novels will welcome Meggy Swann, newly come to London with her only friend, a goose named Louise. Meggy is appalled by London; it's dirty, noisy, full of rogues and thieves, and difficult to get around in—not that getting around is ever easy for someone who walks with the help of two sticks. But just as her alchemist father pursues his Great Work, Meggy finds herself pursuing her own transformation, and in the end, discovers Elizabethan London also has gifts in store for her.

I remember loving Karen Cushman's books when I was younger and when I saw that Kathryn Kellgren was narrating this one, I had to check it out from the library. I was really excited to start this audiobook and set to some housework right off.

I loved the narrator right off. I expected this and tuned into Meggy's voice as she started off with a curse of "Ye toads and vipers" and went on to describe her predicament. Sent for from her estranged father, Meggy leaves the tavern she was raised in to live with her alchemist father, who thought she was a boy. Meggy is crippled and depends on crutches to get her around. She is to take the place of the handsome Roger, who is off to become a player.

But fate brings her back to Roger, depending on him to take care of her one friend – her goose and then again when she uncovers a plot to kill a political figure in London. A conspiracy that may land her father in jail. Meggy perseveres through it all and her fiery nature helps her keep her head up. I loved watching her in her endeavors around London, the first bonds of friendship made with others when she's used to being shunned for being a cripple.

The plot really moved and I loved all the characters Meggy met along the way. Definitely an entertaining novel and makes me rethink reading some of Cushman's older books to get caught up from my childhood.

Final Verdict:

Give this one a shot, it's a solid historical fiction that questions the mysteries of life, friendship and learning that there's more to people than first glance can tell. As always, Kellgren does a fantastic job narrating the voice of our courageous Meggy along with the other colorful characters. And there's even some singing in this one.

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