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The Pearl Thief

Written by Elizabeth Wein

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The Pearl Thief Review

Crime / Mystery Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 13+ readers Historical Fiction Recommended Children's eBooks

In a nutshell: deftly told mystery and coming of age story.

May 2017 Book of the Month

In Julie Beaufort-Stuart Elizabeth Wein has created a charming, original character, with a distinctive and irresistible voice. We meet her here as a teenager returned from boarding school to spend a last summer on her grandfather’s Scottish estate. The old man has died and the estate is being sold to cover his debts. Things quickly take a dark turn when Julie is knocked unconscious while out alone, and it’s also revealed that a scholar cataloguing the estate valuables has vanished. The blame falls on a family of Travellers. Set in 1938, the story is one of prejudice and class division as well as a coming-of-age story, and mystery. Wein is a very good writer, deftly weaving all the different strands together and creating a vivid portrait of the time and the setting as well as of her central character.

Julie also appears in the equally riveting Code Name Verity, and The Pearl Thief is a kind of prequel.

Andrea Reece

The Pearl Thief Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Julie Beaufort-Stuart is returning to her family's ancestral home in Perthshire for one last summer. It is not an idyllic return to childhood. Her grandfather's death has forced the sale of the house and estate and this will be a summer of goodbyes. Not least to the McEwen family - Highland travellers who have been part of the landscape for as long as anyone can remember - loved by the family, loathed by the authorities. Tensions are already high when a respected London archivist goes missing, presumed murdered. Suspicion quickly falls on the McEwens but Julie knows not one of them would do such a thing and is determined to prove everyone wrong. And then she notices the family's treasure trove of pearls is missing.

This beautiful and evocative novel is the story of the irrepressible and unforgettable Julie, set in the year before the Second World War and the events of Code Name Verity. It is also a powerful portrayal of a community under pressure and one girl's determination for justice.

The Pearl Thief Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Eloise Mae Clarkson - 'The characters are amazing and each one has their own unique back story... I loved how this book was so unpredictable even at the very end it had an unexpected twist.'
  • Ella Hewitt, age 14 - 'A thrilling novel focusing on the world before the war from a young girl's perspective! Amazing! Both boys and girls will enjoy this gripping story! Suitable from 11 years!'    
  • Jenny Duffy - 'With a plucky and complex heroine, this is an enjoyable and atmospheric read.'
  • Talia Jacobs, age 15 - 'The plot is relatively slow to start with but in time you uncover surprise after surprise, which improves the book greatly and keeps you reading.'
  • Olivia Tierney, age 19 - 'Reminiscent of classic mysteries, The Pearl Thief is a great quick summer read which will transport you to 1930's Scotland. Wein's novel explores grief, coming-of-age and fighting society stereotypes.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'I really enjoyed the story and the mystery surrounding her accident, this is definitely a book to add to your to be read list!'
  • Phoebe Allan - 'If you dream of long summers, the majestic scene of Scotland and a good old fashioned mystery then this is the book for you!'
  • Lisa Redmond - 'The struggles with class, poverty and a changing way of life are all deftly handled. Elizabeth Wein is a powerful and consummate storyteller.'
  • Felicity Kerswell, age 14 - 'The story was good but with the dialect I struggled to follow the plot.'

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781408866610
Publication date: 04/05/2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781408866610
Publication date: 4th May 2017
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 416 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 13+ readers
Genres: Crime / Mystery, Historical Fiction
Recommendations: eBooks, Reviewed by Children

About Elizabeth Wein

Elizabeth Wein was born in New York, and grew up in England, Jamaica and Pennsylvania. She is married with two children and now lives in Perth, Scotland. Elizabeth is a member of the Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots. She was awarded the Scottish Aero Club's Watson Cup for best student pilot in 2003 and it was her love of flying that partly inspired the idea for Code Name Verity. Photo Credit David Ho 2018

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