Friday, 4 July 2014

PLAYING WITH MY HEART by Valerie Wilding. Reviewed by Ann Turnbull.

'I am so angry, and it is all Miranda's fault. She is the most stupid, loose-tongued friend it is possible to have.'

So begins Valerie Wilding's story - a historical romance for young teens, based around the Globe Theatre in 1599.

When Patience's father, a carpenter, starts doing some work for the theatre company, she and her sister Dippity also find employment there - Dippity as a skilled needlewoman and Patience copying scripts for the players. Their father has a new apprentice, Kit - a thoroughly nice, hardworking boy - and soon Patience and Kit become attracted to one another and everyone is pleased.

But the playhouse brings trouble. Patience meets the handsome and seductive Jeremy de la Motte, a boy player who takes female roles. At once she has eyes for no one else. Her risky pursuit of this young man has dangerous repercussions for the whole family.

I liked the way this story showed a real family busy with everyday work, running a home, worrying about money and helping out neighbours and friends in their small riverside community. This close-packed community complicates life for Patience as she is watched by a nosy neighbour and pestered by the devious Miranda. The story is told in first person in diary form. This makes for short sections and lively, natural story-telling.

Patience - wilful, silly, often self-centred but essentially sound - is a heroine that young readers will be able to relate to. The story is easy to read and subtly conveys a lot of information about the Globe Theatre. There is also a historical note and a timeline at the back.

Published by Scholastic, 2014.


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