Title: Cat O' Nine Tails: A Cat Royal Adventure
Author: Julia Golding
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Concepts: jobs, slavery, wealth, poverty, discrimination, property rights
Review: Catherine Royal, a plucky and courageous teenaged orphan known to all as "Cat," has wound up at the estate of the Duke of Avon. A series of adventures brought her from the streets of London to the theater life of Drury Lane and now to the lap of luxury at the home of her good friend Frank, the Duke's son and heir to his wealth. Feeling extremely out of place and inordinately bored, Cat longs to be released from the confines of reading and sewing quietly inside.
Little does she realize that her world will soon turn upside down when news of a missing friend leads to a fact-finding mission and her abduction into forced work on a British Navy vessel bound for the West Indies. It takes all the strength and wit Cat can muster to survive the cruel treatment that she suffers at the hands of her captor, the ship's purser. Along the way Cat uncovers a malicious plot to trick the Duke into transferring Frank's rightful inheritance to someone else.
This fourth book in the series will certainly meet the high standards that readers have come to expect from a Cat Royal adventure. Woven into the excitement are a series of economic themes, including the drudgery of forced servitude and slavery, the contrasts between wealth and poverty, and the discriminatory treatment of Native Americans during the colonial era. A fiery and independent heroine adds a potent punch to this appealing work of historical fiction.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children