Sunday, 21 August 2022

HONESTY & LIES

 

 by ELOISE WILLIAMS;  

An Adventure Book Review by Erin the Literary Cat©

 

Image ©




Hello, and welcome to my weekend Book Review featuring Adventures in Middle-Grade Fiction! 

 

But first, we head to Upper Much-Mousing. This week we find Erin and Mrs H in the Manor's library, surrounded by history books about the Elizabethan period.

 

"Oh, my word! Surely they never used THAT to clean their clothes!" Erin exclaimed, her eyes wide with shock. "You don't," Erin whispered something in Mrs H's ear, "do you?"

 

"Heaven forfend; absolutely not." Mrs H's shocked expression quickly turned to a smile at Erin's innocent question. "We have powders and chemicals to do that sort of thing. And machines too. No more manual labour for the modern laundry worker."

 

The library descended into silence again, only to be broken five minutes later by another outburst from Erin.

 

"Ewww, that is horrid; the smell must have been awful! Not to mention the rats. And just think if you were walking beneath the window when that happened!" Erin shuddered but offered no more explanation to a now-curious Mrs H.

 

"Ah, this is more like it, Mrs H, pies! Good to know our ancestors liked meat pies. Though I'm not entirely sure I like the name they gave them, it conjures up the wrong image of what's inside."

 

"And what did they call their pies back then?" Mrs H had stopped knitting, determined to get a bit more information from Erin.

 

"Coffins, Mrs H, coffins! They must have had a robust constitution to face one of those for breakfast when the plague was about!"

 

Mrs H leaned over and looked at the pictures and text Erin had been reading. "They called them that because the pastry was thick and shaped a bit like a coffin and was just as well sealed so the contents within would last some time."

 

 "That sounds horrible. Sort of reminds me of that job-lot of second world war, army surplus Christmas mince pies that Mrs Singh's brother-in-law got hold of. We've still got some of those, haven't we?" 

 

"Yes, dear. And still 'in-date', too." Mrs H frowned. She was not one for wasting food but just couldn't bring herself to risk opening an item over 70 years old. "I think I'll send them to the clay pigeon shooting range for their next Open Day."


"To eat?" Erin asked incredulously, remembering what happened to the vicar's false teeth when the packets of pies had got mixed up.

 

"No dear, to shoot at. Judging by their weight and sturdiness, I suspect they'll be reusable!" 

 

With Mrs H and Erin descending into laughter, I think it's time to look at this week's book, a mighty fine Elizabethan adventure called HONESTY & LIES.


 

©Eloise Williams/Cynthia Paul/Firefly Press




BOOK TITLE & AUTHOR: Honesty and Lies by Eloise Williams

 

Cover art by: Cynthia Paul

 

Published by: Firefly Press


Publication date:  6th October 2022


Paperback ISBN:  978 191 310 2999

 

Cover price for Paperback £7.99 


Kindle Version to be available?  Yes

 

Pages:  288.

 

Age range: Middle Grade (9-12 AND upwards)


Any dogs or cats? No, but a strangely attired squirrel!


 

 

SPOILER ALERT


Some as to plot direction and characters. 

 

 

Thank you to... 

 

We are exceedingly grateful to all the wonderful folk at Firefly Press, & NetGalley, for the privilege of getting to Read & Review this winning book before publication. 

 

As ever, our views are our own, and we only share reviews of books we like and feel our readers deserve to know about and that we hope they will enjoy. 

 

 

The plot

 

Honesty is a Welsh girl, no more than 13yrs, who has escaped to London to avoid a marriage arranged by her father to a much older, loathsome man. Arriving in the bitter cold of Christmas time, she is taken aback by the dirt, stink, chaos, and the noisy hustle and bustle of the streets. She needs her wits to keep her purse and life in this place. Will her quick tongue and way with stories be any help? 

 

Fleeing from an attacker, she runs into Alice, a girl of about the same age, who it seems is a maid of some import at Queen Elizabeth's court. Honesty realises Alice is key to gaining work and thus safety, so she follows her into the grounds of Greenwich Palace. In so doing, Honesty foils an attempt on the queen's life. Her reward is to get to be a maid with Alice. 

 

And so begins a journey that starts out of Alice's need, then twists and turns through skullduggery, betrayal, treason, envy, lost friendships, and rivalries created. 

 

While Honesty doesn't want her past catching up with her, Alice has a secret in her present that gnaws at her very soul. It could be the end of her and her family if discovered by the palace guards . . . 



So, what did we think?

 

 

As you may recall from our review of WILDE, Eloise is a highly skilled writer and the inaugural Welsh Children's Laureate. She has created a compelling gem-of-a-tale, steeped in the atmosphere, characters and smells of Elizabethan London, both good and bad. It is maybe one of which the bard or even Chaucer would approve. 

 

Unlike Anna Fargher's book, 'The Fire Cats of London', which we reviewed a few months ago (LINK HERE), this book is far less brutal in depicting the reality of period life. But that doesn't mean this is in any way a less appealing or less well-constructed tale. In fact, quite the reverse. The detailed descriptions of life for the Londoners, as well as that of the courtiers, are very compelling. Whilst not long, it packed a punch of excitement, tension and a powerful sense of person and place. 

 

The twin, first-person narrative in alternating chapters from Alice and Honesty works really well, especially when the two try, often wrongly, to make sense of each other's actions and emotions. 

 

The book's title is a lovely play on what the reader will discover within its pages. I shall say no more on that for fear I will take away from the plot.

 


So . . . . 



Crunch time. 


I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend this tale. I could see this as a favourite in the classroom for out-loud reading and discussion. Anyone interested in a short but eloquent middle-grade story of Elizabethan life will find much in here to please them. 




Want to buy a copy?

 

To get a copy – avoiding some of the more unpleasant smells and deeds of Elizabeth I's London – please do think of your local independent bookshop. There are plenty out there, and each is just waiting to serve up a treasure of literal magical resource – minus ale and meat pies with dubious content – with a personal touch.

 


Eloise Williams' WEB page can be found HERE  or type this: https://eloisewilliams.com


 

The Firefly Press web page can be found HERE. or type this:  https://fireflypress.co.uk/

 

 

And I shall leave you with my traditional selfie . . . .




 


Till laters!

ERin


All text and images on this site are subject to legal Copyright © by Erin the Cat Princess© and the publishers/authors/artists featured in the reviews. None may be reproduced without prior consent.

30 comments:

  1. That sounds like one to add the to bookshelf, and no doubt Amber will be ordering a copy later much to Parsley's chagrin! MOL

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    Replies
    1. It sure is. Hope Parsley doesnt get too upset πŸ™‚.
      ERin

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  2. Erin, we love your selfie. Your jellybean toes are adorable!

    The conversation between you and Mrs. H made us giggle. Clay pigeons would probably taste pretty horrible, right?


    Thank you for sharing about Honesty and Lies. It sounds like a good book, with lots of twists and turns!

    Hugs!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mrs H loves them toes almost as much as me πŸ˜‰. Yes, clay pigeons are not tasty at all and absolutely no fun to chase on account of not moving. Well that's what I thought until Mrs H said they fire them out into the air to help them fly!
      Yes a great tale that revolves around the title.
      ERin

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  3. Erin, that is such a sweet selfie. Your paws are adorable!
    Mummy thinks that book sounds furry interesting. She has always loved the Elizabethan period.

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    1. Thank you. Mrs H says they are paws that havent seen too many honest days work recently, MOL
      This is a great book for the inquisitive middle grade reader to get a feel for the periods people, problems and culture.
      Purrs
      ERin

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  4. Mee-yow ERin an Missus H you'ss sure are doin alot of reesearch! Which iss guud speshelly when reeviewin bookss. "Honesty an Liess" soundss supurr kewl....Wee know furry little 'bout Elizabeethan Era...
    BellaSita Mum iss innto Vickytorian Era! ;)
    Mee finished "Tommy Fieldmouse'ss Nite Time Adventuress" last nite! It iss a innterestin an sweet story.....mee iss thinkin 'bout mee reeview to come.....
    An BellaSita started #6 book an Miss Lesley May showed up mew (new) face an caused trubbell at Harrod'ss! This story iss wild cray-cray & wee enjoyin it!
    Yore Selfie iss deelitefull ERin as allwayss.....
    ~~~head rubss~~~BellaDharma an <3 BellaSita Mum

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. The library is chok full of fun books to look at. Plus a few mice if things get dull! Now I look forwards to your review of Tommy the Fieldmouse, as well as the Rivers of London book 6πŸ™‚ Till next time, enjoy the reading!
      ERin

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  5. Sweeney Todd should have taken note from the Elizabethan area and called his pies coffins too!
    Another great review, Erin. I do enjoy books set during the Elizabethan era.

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    1. He could have indeed. They were often called funeral pies also. Neither name is very encouraging πŸ™‚. Thank you. Should you ever come across this delightful little book, or indeed any others by Eloise, I am sure you will enjoy them.
      ERin

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  6. You really do find the most interesting books sweet Princess and this one sounds impressive too! Love your selfie!

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    1. We do try, Brian. We are lucky to have such great publishers, and access to NetGalley to help us pick and chose the very best for you to enjoy.
      ERin

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  7. Erin smashing selfie. We are adding the book to our when G&O are older list.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, and an excellent choice for the kids.
      Purrs
      ERin

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  8. Erin, that is quite the look you are giving us. Something tells me you are quite the sassy princess! You go, girl.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, and yes, I have been known to defend my territory with a hint of hiss and sass. πŸ™‚
      ERin

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  9. Love the selfie, and the book sounds wonderful! I'd never heard that about coffins...

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    Replies
    1. Well I must admit I hadnt untill I dug a bit deeper, pardon the pun. They also were called funeral pies. But name aside, the contents were what were important, and they had mutton often as well as herbs spices and some fruit. The pastry was, like the early Cornish Pasties, not meant to eaten just held onto.
      ERin

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  10. Talk to the paw!! LOL!


    I feel compelled to read this now, after reading your review! Imagine that!

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    Replies
    1. I do hope yu enjoy this if you get to have a copy. It is an elegant read, like Eloise's other stories, and a lovely snapshot of life miixed with a great, short adventure.
      ERin

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  11. MOL, I think I'll take living now!

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  12. What a great idea, to do these reviews! There is always some wonderfully creative action going on with you, Erin! MERCI.

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  13. Thanks for the trip along the Elizabethan era, Purrincess, we could smell it all..MOL...I love your Selfie and your paws...wait... let me give a Pawkiss from Heaven on top of it as I can't resist🐾😽✨

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    1. Thank you, Binky, your visit is most welcome as are the gentle kisses. It is certainly an eyeopener, in a gentle MG way. A great read!
      Purrs
      ERin

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  14. Is that a tuft of fur or a bird feather sitting next to you, ERin? Another great review - I'm hooked!

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    1. Sorry for the delay in replying! Yes, it was left by a post-pigeon dropping of a telegram from Mrs Singh, saying my takeaway order was ready. Sadly the pigeon got lost in a field of corn and arrived a week and many ounces fatter. It did however leave a few ounces slimmer as I chased it around a bit!
      Purrs
      ERin

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    2. We just dropped by again to see what has become of you.

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    3. Thanks for coming by. We are in midst of helping an injured neighbour. Alas it leaves little time to do any blogging as agricultural work is time consuming and Mrs H gets tired. Still amidst it all, we have a Book Blog Tour post out this Tuesday, and the chance to win a copy of the book!
      Purrs
      ERin

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