My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Received electronic copy from author to review
Genre: Tween Historical Fiction
Book Description: Raised in 1820’s India, twelve year old Isabella Rockwell can ride and shoot as well as any of the soldiers in her father’s regiment. These skills, however, are of no use to her when she finds herself on the frozen streets of London, orphaned and alone.
Tormented by guilt over the deaths of those who loved her, she vows never to be responsible for anyone’s life again. If she can scrape together enough money, she will return to India. But Isabella cannot shake the creeping feeling that something is not right; that something threatens not only her new best friend, but the throne of England itself.
Having survived this far on her wits alone, will Isabella escape back home to India? Or will she stay with Alix, a girl whose fate seems to be tied up with Isabella’s own? A fate which will have consequences far beyond those Isabella could ever have imagined.
Winner of the Children’s 12+ Fiction Category at Winchester Writer’s Conference, UK. 2012.
My thoughts: Isabella is devastated when her father disappears on a regimental mission in India. She lives in India and loves the culture. By many she is considered a native, and likes to think of herself that way.
She is shipped off to England after a failed attempt to find her father. She is to learn a trade as some sort of a servant, but she doesn't go along with the plan. Almost immediately she runs away after setting her feet in England. She finds refuge with street children and learns a new way of life. Unfortunately it's not an honest way of life. While scoping out a wealthy neighborhood she is in the right place at the right time and saves the life of Princess Alexi.
I knew this book was historical fiction, but for the life of me, I couldn't think of an heir to the throne named Alexandrina Hanover. So I googled it! Her middle name is Victoria... Queen Victoria. For some strange reason, that made the book a little more fun for me.
Isabella finds herself thinking like a soldier, remembering all that her father taught her to unravel a plot to kill the Princess. I had to keep reminding myself that Isabella is twelve. She is a very smart young woman with a great head on her shoulders. She also saves the day.
This book has a great cast of characters. I really liked the street kids. I wish that there would have been a little more of them, even when she was staying with Alexi.
One thing that I love about a historical fiction book for kids, is that it may lead them to want to know more about history. You never know, they may want to find out if there was a Princess named Alexi? Then they could learn about Queen Victoria.