The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

The Pearl Thief

Before Verity…there was Julie.When fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital, she knows the lazy summer break she’d imagined won’t be exactly like she anticipated. And once she returns to her grandfather’s estate, a bit banged up but alive, she begins to realize that her injury might not have been an accident. One of her family’s employees is missing,...

Title:The Pearl Thief
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1484717163
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:326 pages

The Pearl Thief Reviews

  • Amanda
    Jul 19, 2016

    I am so happy Elizabeth treated us to another book featuring Julie. So incredibly happy :)))

  • Monica Edinger
    Nov 27, 2016

    My

    :

    Elizabeth Wein's books offer so much. The worlds she creates are remarkable in their textures; whether they are set in actual historical pasts or fantasy historical pasts, they are rich with touches large and small that bring the worlds alive for readers. She does something similar with characters, making them complex, flawed, and vivid whether they are the ones we care deeply about, those that terrify us, or simply those a bit more on the fringe of the story. All of them feel ful

    My

    :

    Elizabeth Wein's books offer so much. The worlds she creates are remarkable in their textures; whether they are set in actual historical pasts or fantasy historical pasts, they are rich with touches large and small that bring the worlds alive for readers. She does something similar with characters, making them complex, flawed, and vivid whether they are the ones we care deeply about, those that terrify us, or simply those a bit more on the fringe of the story. All of them feel fully rounded, ones we readers inhabit fully as we read. Then there is plot --- Wein is a master at creating complex, driving, tangled, twisty, and unpredictable plots.  Lastly, there is emotion, and not just for the characters --- these are books that set readers' hearts pounding, produce gasps of astonishment, smiles at the wit, and tears of joy and sadness.

    Among Wein's works are two novels set during Word War II: the jaw-dropping, gasp-inducing C

    and the equally dramatic and heartrending 

     Now we have

     a prequel to

    featuring a much younger Julie. I admit I was a bit wary starting the novel, wondering if Wein was pushing too far with the same characters , but I needed have worried. This work is marvelous, as fully realized in all its facets as all the others. While the book isn't out for a while yet, I wanted to get my thoughts down now (in a spoiler free way of course) so as not to have them drift away and to, hopefully, excite those of you waiting for it.

    It is 1938 as the story begins and we meet fifteen-year-old Julie heading home to her family's Scottish estate from her Swiss boarding school for the summer. The death of her grandfather and the need to pay off his extensive debt has meant that the estate has been sold and is being turned into a school. And so Julie's return is bittersweet, her family occupying a few rooms of the place temporarily until they move out for good. Shortly after her arrival she lands in the hospital, having been hit on the head by an unknown assailant and then saved by local Travelers. Things and people go missing, mysteries pile up and Julie, her brother Jamie, and the Traveler siblings Euan and Ellen try to get to the bottom of it all.

    While it has some of the delicious attributes of a cosy mystery, this is far more rich, a highly complex narrative featuring Julie's coming-of-age (emotionally, sexually, and intellectually), the unpacking of family histories (Julie's and the Travelers), direct presentations of period prejudices, all within a riveting plot full of Wein's trademark twists and turns. As in her previous books, Wein creates a rich past world, fascinating characters, dramatic scenes, and great emotional depth. While it is not necessary to have any familiarity with

    , those who have it will enjoy the younger Julie, observing her developing into the young woman that she is later on. Finally, in addition to everything else, Wein is just a wonderful wordsmith. I love her sentences, her dry wit. Say this brief bit on page 47.

    is a complete delight. Highly recommended.

     

  • Hailey (HaileyInBookland)
    Jan 24, 2017

    I enjoyed this, not quite as much as CNV, but I still really enjoyed it! It was awesome to get some backstory on Julie, she's such an interesting character. Overall a great read!

  • Dannii Elle
    Feb 01, 2017

    You can find my full review on

    .

    Set in 1930s Britain, this focuses on Lady Julia’s return to her grandparents regal home, in the summer of her fifteenth year. However, she isn’t here for a holiday. With the death of her grandfather and the accumulation of a lifetime of debt, the house is to be sold and converted into a school. Julia is to assist her family in organising their ancestral belongings and heirlooms. Further troubles are heaped on this broken family when Julia is struck b

    You can find my full review on

    .

    Set in 1930s Britain, this focuses on Lady Julia’s return to her grandparents regal home, in the summer of her fifteenth year. However, she isn’t here for a holiday. With the death of her grandfather and the accumulation of a lifetime of debt, the house is to be sold and converted into a school. Julia is to assist her family in organising their ancestral belongings and heirlooms. Further troubles are heaped on this broken family when Julia is struck by a mysterious assailant, forcing her into a coma and resulting in memory loss.

    This story had the feel of another timeless classic,

    . The focus of the plot seemed to be about one thing, but was actually addressing larger social issues in a powerful and positive way. Wein’s upfront and unapologetic writing was sometimes witty and sometimes thrilling, but always raw and poignant. She did not deliver just one story, but a multitude of stories all bundled into one narrative.

  • Sarah Laurence
    Apr 03, 2017

    Code Name Verity fans will be overjoyed to learn that Elizabeth Wein has written a brilliant prequel to her bestseller spy thriller. The Pearl Thief is set in 1938 Scotland, where 15-year-old Julie is spending one final summer on her deceased grandfather's estate. This parlor mystery is far more innocent and sweet than Wein's World War II novels. The Pearl Thief reads like an Agatha Christie mystery for young teens, but the gorgeous writing, Shakespearean themes, and historical details would app

    Code Name Verity fans will be overjoyed to learn that Elizabeth Wein has written a brilliant prequel to her bestseller spy thriller. The Pearl Thief is set in 1938 Scotland, where 15-year-old Julie is spending one final summer on her deceased grandfather's estate. This parlor mystery is far more innocent and sweet than Wein's World War II novels. The Pearl Thief reads like an Agatha Christie mystery for young teens, but the gorgeous writing, Shakespearean themes, and historical details would appeal to adult readers too.

    Due to the 1930's British setting, The Pearl Thief reminded me of a favorite classic, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Once again we have a formerly wealthy family living on an estate with a crumbling castle, which mirrors their reversal of fortune. There's a clash between teen-idealized romance and the carnal desires of adults. The lyrical writing style and bucolic setting are similar, but it's the eloquent girl protagonist, who yearns for a grander life, that makes these books unforgettable.

    The Pearl Thief's central plot is a missing man mystery. Police dredge the river for a body when a museum scholar, hired to catalogue the grandfather's treasures for auction, vanishes while digging for pearls. Julie was the last to see the scholar alive, but she was hit on the head and can't remember what happened. Having devoured many mysteries as a teen, I guessed the main culprit in the early chapters. That didn't spoil the story because most of the suspense comes from worrying if Julie will string the clues together in time and act sensibly.

    Julie has trouble controlling her impulses, leading to risky behavior. She's a beautiful girl full of dualities: revelling in silk ballgowns and rare river pearls but also envious of her brothers' freedom. Once her hair is cut short, Julie tries on gender identities playfully like Shakespearean costumes. The bisexual undertones in Code Name Verity are further explored in this progressive prequel while still adhering to the conservative morality of the time period and of her aristocratic class. The most controversial part of The Pearl Thief is Julie's crush on a middle aged man, who encourages her flirtations.

    Rebellious Julie bulks against societal norms to befriend a deaf librarian with facial deformities and a family of Travellers. She has to overcome her own prejudices to earn their trust. Wein makes all her characters realistically flawed: the Travellers and the deaf woman are also prejudiced against each other. No one is perfect, but characters can learn from their mistakes and change.

    Over the course of The Pearl Thief, Julie grows into the young woman who will become the spy Verity. This delightful prequel feels like it was written first, and the books could be read in either order. I appreciate Code Name Verity all the more for understanding the backstory, and I hope Elizabeth Wein writes another Julie novel. Julie/Verity is one of my favorite YA heroines.

    Reviewer's Disclosure: Since I've reviewed other novels by Elizabeth Wein, Disney Hyperion USA offered me the ARC of The Pearl Thief. The digital galley had formatting errors, making it unreadable, so I requested a print galley from Bloomsbury UK (I'm on sabbatical in England.) Borrowing a clue from the mystery, the Bloomsbury galley came with (fake) pearls in the envelope! Elizabeth Wein is a blog buddy and my favorite historical YA author. One of her editors, Kate Egan, is a friend of mine too.

    Full Review posted on my blog for Barrie Summy's Book Review Club:

  • Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
    May 22, 2017

    Finished last night and dove straight back into Code Name Verity.

    I picked up this book without knowing much about it. Yes, there's the blurb, but I didn't really pay attention to that. I just knew I adored Code Name Verity and as this was a prequel to that special book, I was reading it regardless (and hopefully loving it too). As it happens, I did love it. But it certainly wasn't what I was expecting.

    I love the Pearl Thief for the innate Scottishness that infuses every page. I love it for the v

    Finished last night and dove straight back into Code Name Verity.

    I picked up this book without knowing much about it. Yes, there's the blurb, but I didn't really pay attention to that. I just knew I adored Code Name Verity and as this was a prequel to that special book, I was reading it regardless (and hopefully loving it too). As it happens, I did love it. But it certainly wasn't what I was expecting.

    I love the Pearl Thief for the innate Scottishness that infuses every page. I love it for the vibrancy of the characters, who all leap off the page: Ellen, Euan, Jamie, Pinkie (omg my heart), especially Julie, and even the secondary characters like Mary Kinnaird and Sandy and Frank Dunbar. I love it for the mystery and the history and the inclusion of the Tinkers, who were people I'd never even known existed prior to picking this up. And I loved it for teaching me more about the world, as historical fiction seems to do time and time again. I knew nothing about Scottish river pearls, but this book changed that.

    With it being a prequel, Elizabeth Wein leaves a few Easter eggs here and there to show us where certain things from Code Name Verity came from (ahem, Queenie). But it works just as well on its own, I think. I had less than a hundred pages to finish last night and felt like I was freaking out on every other page because the story was that intense. And while the ending wrapped up quickly, it wasn't what I would call neat -- I'm still sad about the pearls.

  • Dianne
    Apr 04, 2017

    She was coming home, not for a visit, but to help liquidate her deceased grandfather’s estate. The debt collectors were at the door and the house was to become a school. Fifteen-year-old Julia must be part of the dismantling of lifetimes of accumulated family treasures and heirlooms, but an attack by a shadowy figure leaves her comatose, awaking a victim of amnesia. She is only alive because of two young Travelers, (gypsies).

    When things go missing, the Travelers are accused and now it is up to

    She was coming home, not for a visit, but to help liquidate her deceased grandfather’s estate. The debt collectors were at the door and the house was to become a school. Fifteen-year-old Julia must be part of the dismantling of lifetimes of accumulated family treasures and heirlooms, but an attack by a shadowy figure leaves her comatose, awaking a victim of amnesia. She is only alive because of two young Travelers, (gypsies).

    When things go missing, the Travelers are accused and now it is up to Julia, her brother and the Traveler siblings to uncover the mystery that shrouds their lives. Enter the world of Britain in the 1930’s when prejudice, wealth and power determine the worth or veracity of a person and watch Julia grow as a person and come of age as a young lady as her eyes are opened to the worst and best in humanity.

    by Elizabeth Wein is a rich historical tale that precedes her

    tale. Exquisite details, and lyrical prose invites the reader to sit back and travel to a time long ago, feel the atmosphere of the times and witness the determination of four young people against all odds on a mission to discover the truth.

    I received an ARC edition from the Disney Book Group in exchange for my honest and voluntary review.

    Publisher: Disney Hyperion (May 2, 2017)

    Publication Date: May 2, 2017

    Genre: YA Historical Fiction

    Print Length: 336 pages

    Available from:

    |

    For Reviews & More:

  • Shomeret
    Jun 14, 2017

    The main reason why I wanted to read The Pearl Thief is because British Travellers are prominent in the plot. Travellers are often confused with the Romani who are now believed to have originated in India. Travellers are native to Britain. They were also called Tinkers because they mended pots and kettles, but the term Tinker was used as an insult. I was astonished to read in this book that Tinker Bell was given that name to show that she was "a low class fairy". James Barrie, the creator of Tin

    The main reason why I wanted to read The Pearl Thief is because British Travellers are prominent in the plot. Travellers are often confused with the Romani who are now believed to have originated in India. Travellers are native to Britain. They were also called Tinkers because they mended pots and kettles, but the term Tinker was used as an insult. I was astonished to read in this book that Tinker Bell was given that name to show that she was "a low class fairy". James Barrie, the creator of Tinker Bell, was showing his prejudice against Travellers through this character's name. Elizabeth Wein serves up intriguing snippets of the history and culture of Travellers in this novel. I'd love to find out more, and I can by obtaining one of the books she consulted on the subject listed in her bibliography at the back of the book.

    Another reason why I wanted to read this latest book by Elizabeth Wein is that it's a mystery beginning as a missing person case. I am a fan of the mystery genre and this one involves several surprising twists. So this is an absorbing and well constructed mystery with great characters and a strong statement against prejudice. I expect this to be one of my best reads of 2017.

    For my complete review see


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