Review ‘A Very Unusual Pursuit’ by Catherine Jinks
Birdie McAdam is a bogler’s assistant, a stout defender of Alfred Bunce and his unusual profession. The ‘unusual’ relates to luring and eradicating child-eating bogles by using Birdie as bait. Her songs sometimes quaver when a foul bogle monster leaves its lair but she holds firm. A spear and split second timing is needed and old Alfred is the man for the job.
Before reading Catherine Jinks adult novel ‘Shepherd’ I read her children’s trilogy City of Orphans. These stories captured my interest from the first page and held it to the last. Following the adventures of young orphan Birdie McAdam, a lively, focused girl with a beautiful singing voice, I soon blended into the damp, grimy streets of 1870s London.
After the messy demise of a chimney bogle in a fancy parlour, the story kicks up a notch with overlapping events; Fagan-like Sarah Pickles with her young thieves and no scruples; well-to-do Miss Eames with an interest in mythology and rehabilitating young Birdie; and evil Dr Morton, a man with a heart as ugly as a bogle. And, of course, the markets and docklands of London.
I love the levels of intrigue, grim deeds, and disagreeable behaviour which surround Birdie and Alfred.
As true protagonists, they rise to every challenge.
Birdie has entertaining friends, although she wouldn’t admit that to rascals Ned or Jem.
These lads get to shine in books two and three.
Characters are clearly and consistently written.
Together they overcome hardship and show concern for each other.
There is great strength of purpose when adversity strikes.
The fast-moving chapters are vividly written and although I am not the target audience, each time the tension rose I held my breath. This plot builds and moves forward with fortitude, the second book in sight. All three books are well worth reading, and while the mood may get darker and the bogles may get messier, the sequence of events lead to a very satisfying conclusion.
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward
Bookcovers, like those beauties above, hold a certain fascination for me. Way back I did a blog post about it. In this instance, the publication of different titles and different artwork in overseas countries let me down. They are nothing like the bookcovers shown here, their titles don’t capture the atmosphere of the era nor do the illustrations recreate how the bogles are described. Gotta love marketing. GBW.
About the author
Catherine Jinks, Australia (b.1963) http://catherinejinks.com/
Catherine is a four-time winner of the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year award, and has also won a Victorian Premier’s Literature Award, the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature, the Ena Noel Award for Children’s Literature and an Aurealis Award for Science Fiction. In 2001 she was presented with a Centenary Medal for her contribution to Australian Children’s Literature.
Catherine Jinks was born in Brisbane and grew up in Sydney where she studied medieval history at the University of Sydney. She became a writer because she loves reading, as well as history, films and television. She gets her ideas for her novels from everywhere, particularly good science fiction films.
The author of over thirty books for children and adults, including the award-winning Pagan Chronicles series, Catherine writes whenever she gets a spare moment, and could write for eight hours straight if she had the chance. She lives in the Blue Mountains NSW with her Canadian husband and daughter Hannah.
City of Orphans trilogy
- A Very Unusual Pursuit (2013)
or How to Catch a Bogle
- A Very Peculiar Plague (2013)
or A Plague of Bogles
- A Very Singular Guild (2013)
or The Last Bogler
- Pagan’s Crusade (1994)
- Pagan in Exile (2004)
- Pagan’s Vows (2004)
- Pagan’s Scribe (2005)
- Pagan’s Daughter (2006)
Allie’s Ghost Hunters
- Eglantine (2002) – very quirky story.
- Eustace (2003)
- Eloise (2005)
- Elysium (2007)
- Evil Genius (2005)
- Genius Squad (2008)
- The Genius Wars (2010)
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