CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 36. . . .May 21, 2010
Catherine Anne Lumsden, called Kitty by her family and friends, lives in London, England, during the late sixteenth century. Extremely clever and filled with an adventurous spirit, 12-year-old Kitty is quick to catch on to her family’s role in protecting Queen Elizabeth from plots against her life, and she tells readers all about it in her diary. However, she finds herself empathizing with the enemy, Queen Mary, who is isolated from her friends and moved from place to place at Elizabeth’s whim. Kitty also finds herself conflicted when she makes friends with the enemy, Sir Anthony, who rescues her dog from drowning and is later arrested and executed for his part in a conspiracy to assassinate Queen Elizabeth. Caught between two sides, Kitty’s character is able to present the reader with a balanced perspective on the conflict between Mary and Elizabeth.
Weaved into this first person narration of political conspiracies and bloodthirsty justice is also a story of childhood friendships and family loyalty. Kitty is a very likeable protagonist with an authentic voice, and her descriptions of outings with her cousin, Edmund, give the reader insight into the mix of innocence and macabre curiosity of children of the Elizabethan era. Though the book contains several disturbing scenes of violence, including an execution and a bearbaiting event, Kitty is able to restore the light atmosphere with her enduring sense of humour. Her interactions with other children, specifically Edmund’s sister, Kathryn, are extremely entertaining and sure to keep younger readers engaged. With the help of Kitty and her cloak and dagger family, To Kill a Queen manages to be both educational and entertaining. This is a great addition to the “My Story” series.
Laura Dunford is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Children's Literature program at the University of British Columbia.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.