Monday, 16 May 2011

Review: Montacute House - Lucy Jago

Montacute House by Lucy Jago, published by Bloomsbury on 3rd May 2011

Goodreads synopsis:
At first a boy’s body is discovered, then John, Cess’s best friend, disappears . . . What is the mystery behind these sinister events?

Cess works caring for the chickens at Montacute House but on her thirteenth birthday everything changes. She finds a precious locket hidden in the chicken coop and is convinced someone has placed it there for her to find. But the day is overshadowed by fear as a boy’s body is found by the river, and then John disappears. Cess is determined to find him but is soon embroiled in a plot that threatens her world and forces her to draw on powers she never knew she possessed, powers that will place her life in danger if they are discovered by the villagers.

‘Montacute House’ by Lucy Jago will appeal to fans of Mary Hooper – those who like a cracking good story, set against a vividly depicted historical backdrop.  I really enjoyed this book and found it both entertaining and hugely informative.  I always learn loving more and finding out about different periods in history and in that respect I was certainly not disappointed.  I enjoyed the wonderful descriptions of Montacute House and the surrounding areas of Somerset.  This is somewhere that I’d love to visit and go and look around so I devoured all the fantastically rich and lush detail that was interwoven throughout.  

The main protagonist of the book is unlikely heroine Cess, who works for the owner of Montacute House as keeper of the chickens.  On the morning of her thirteenth birthday she finds a valuable necklace hidden under one of her chickens and this sets in motion a chain of events in which she is set to play an important part.  Soon after, her best friend William goes missing and she determines that she'll set out to find him.  along the way she uncovers a number of secrets and a hidden plot which could endanger many lives.     

On the whole, I enjoyed the story, although there were a few places in the book where I found that the pace of the plot was a little slow and it took a while for it to really pick up.  When it did however, it was exciting and quite thrilling.  Murder, mystery, adventure and romance are all combined to make this a book which should appeal to quite a wide audience of readers - beyond those who are just fans of historical fiction.   

I found that there was an educational aspect to the book as well, as the story incorporates a multitude of themes including the divide between Protestants and Catholics, life during Elizabeth I’s reign and explores in some detail elements of witchcraft and paganism.  I'm not sure if the latter completely worked for me, as there were some parts where it didn't seem to completely mesh with the story, but I still found this an interesting subject. 

Historical fiction fans will enjoy this lovely story from debut YA author Lucy Jago.  I’ll certainly be checking out future books by a very talented writer. 

You can find out more about Lucy Jago at http://www.lucyjago.comAlso check out this film of Lucy on location at the real Montacute House in Somerset

1 comment:

  1. I haven't heard of this one but it sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out.


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