Hey guys! A lot of you will probably already know that I enjoy a good historical fiction novel, and a good mystery. Well, imagine my delight when Bloomsbury sent me an ARC of The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein. Set in 1930s Scotland, with a beguiling mystery at the heart of it, this read like an Agatha Christie novel. If Agatha Christie wrote YA mysteries with fabulous settings and a splash of romance, that is of course.
The book begins with Lady Julia returning to her grandparents’ estate for the summer. However, her grandfather has recently died, leaving the family there for one final summer as they pack up, sell and move on. Then, an archivist from London goes missing, presumed dead, and suspicions fall on a family of Highland travellers that Julie is certain had nothing to do with it. Add in a missing fortune of pearls and the mystery thickens!
I adored both the atmospheric setting of this book and the mystery. It is gripping, taking its time to gently unwind to a conclusion I did not see coming! It is beautifully written and the plot unfolds well-I was intrigued from the start of reading this one. But what I really enjoyed more than anything with this book, were the characters.
Julie is a sophisticated 15 year old, she is curious, brave and empathetic. She can also be naive and insecure. In short, she was a strong character that leapt from the pages and stuck with you. Ellen and Euan, the teenage Highland travellers, were a great representation of a minority I previously didn’t know anything about. I felt like Elizabeth Wein did a great job in writing the interactions between Julie and Ellen, in particular, showing how each of them experienced the other’s world, and the difficulties that often arose for the travellers.
Overall, I’m giving this 4/5 stars and would recommend this to fans of Agatha Christie mysteries and YA historical fiction. It is an enjoyable read with memorable characters, set in a lovely backdrops of castles and the glamour of the 30s.
A big thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me an ARC to review. The Pearl Thief will be out on May 4th with a gorgeous cover, if you’re interested in reading it!
Has anyone else read anything like this? Let me know!