Thursday, October 17, 2013

Reading Julia Golding

I was browsing around in bookstores this week, thoroughly enjoying myself and finding all sorts of treasures in the 2nd-hand book stores in Aberdeen. For an incredibly low price I got myself a series of 6 books by Jonathan Wylie, some David Eddings books (which I loved when I was younger and just wanted to re-read for nostalgia's sake) a copy of the Midwich Cuckoos (have to say I adore John Wyndham - especially The Chrysalids which we had to read in school when I was about 15)... oh, and a set of George Macdonald fairy tales :)

Today I was looking through Julia Golding's books in the children's section of another store and remembered how much I enjoyed them. I don't know how many people are familiar with her books so I thought I'd share some of the titles today.

Julia Golding is a British author and has written many books, winning the Nestle Smarties Book Prize in 2006 for The Diamond of Drury Lane.

I particularly like two of her series - one is fantasy and one is historical.

The Companions Quartet was the first series I read - and I promptly bought the entire set for the school library.

In brief it tells the story of a girl named Connie, who moves to a seaside town to live with her aunt. Connie has never fitted in and believes that it will be the same in this new place. Instead she discovers the Society for the Protection of Mythical Creatures and learns that the town is full of adults and children who are Companions to banshees, pegasi, krakens and selkies, as well as other mythical creatures. Connie discovers that she is the rarest of the rare - a Universal Companion, the first person in over 100 years who can communicate with every creature on land, in sea and in air. She has enormous power - and learns that this power corrupted the previous Universal who now wants Connie to join him in his bid to take over everything.

The really fun part about this series is seeing all the mythical creatures - and I particularly liked going to the website and finding out what type of Companion I would be :) It helps if your kids know something about myths -they'll understand it better - but it's a great adventure series anyway.


 Golding's other series that I love is the Cat Royal series. There are 6 books in print and one shorter novella that is available as an e-book.

These are set in 18th century England and the story begins in Covent Garden. Cat Royal is an orphan who lives in the Theater Royal in Drury Lane. Each book has a mystery element (hidden diamonds, plots to kill a duke, family mystery etc. ) and Cat rubs shoulders with everyone from actors to street riffraff to the aristocracy. As the series progresses Cat travels to France, Jamaica and even America but even more she goes on a journey of self-discovery. Themes such as slavery, revolution and class distinctions run through the books as well - and I especially like the way that Julia Golding realistically showcases 18th century life in a variety of places through Cat's travels.

These books are geared toward 10 year olds and higher - I loved them as an adult :) - but a strong younger reader could certainly handle them.

And even though the covers look girly - and the protagonist is a girl - there are plenty of characters to interest the boys as well including former slave Pedro, street gang leader Billy Shepherd and pirates!
A seriously good read!!


So that's my British pick this week :) Try Julia Golding's books - you won't regret it :)

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