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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Guest Review: Road to London by Barbara Mitchelhill

Publisher: Andersen
Publication Date: 5 April 2012

Synopsis from Goodreads

Thomas dreams of becoming an actor, and when Shakespeare comes home to Stratford, Thomas's life changes forever.

Thomas is desperate to join 'the players', he'll do anything to watch them perform, even skip school and risk a caning. But when Thomas's rule breaking gets him in trouble with more than just his school master, he has to flee his home and make his way to London. Here he meets his hero, Shakespeare, and his players. But behind the excitement of the theatres is a grimy world of deception, poison and treason. Will Thomas manage to uncover the plot in time? And will he manage to save Shakespeare from a fate worse than death?


“Plots, Treason and Drama! When Thomas flees to London in search of a life in the theatre, he meets his hero, William Shakespeare, and thinks his dream has come true.

But Elizabethan London is a grimy place; full of scoundrels, treachery and murder. Thomas and his friend, Alice, find themselves caught up in a treasonous plot to kill the Queen.”

I have to say that this kind of book is right up my street. I do love a good historical novel and this is an easy read. I know I am not the targeted audience for this book, I am after all no longer a teenager, but I have to say that I enjoyed travelling with Thomas into the grimy streets of Tudor London.

Thomas has always dreamed of being an actor and so when he meets his hero William Shakespeare in Stratford he feels that his dreams may come true. His Father though has different ideas and Thomas must attend school and become a lawyer. Circumstances change for Thomas and he must flee Stratford and there begins the tale of treason and murder. I feel that this is where the story really takes off and the way that the author has captured the dirty smelly streets of London is quite something. Although basic in language she manages to give you the sights and smells of that era.

Along the way Thomas meets Alice. She is a very feisty character and sometimes I did have to suspend belief in her as I did wonder if there were female characters like her at that time. But go with it as she becomes a truly likeable and enjoyable part of the book. She is the one who finds out about the plot to kill the Queen and with Thomas’ help, they manage to foil it.

There were some lovely references in the book to past historical events. Look out for the baker on Pudding Lane, a very witty nod to the Great Fire of London.

I enjoyed reading this and as I said at the start it is a very easy read with uncomplicated language but this does not detract from the great story that Barbara Mitchelhill weaves for her reader. I think this is a perfect book for those who want to delve into historical novels but don’t know where to start.

1 comment:

  1. Vivienne_dacosta24 April 2012 at 13:46

    Excellent review Shelly. I really enjoyed this one too. 


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