Rating: 3 stars
As someone who LOVED Code Name Verity, I was so so excited to read The Pearl Thief, a kind of prequel to CNV, giving us details about Julie before she was ‘Verity’. And, because I was such a fan, I was kinda let down by this book. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, I wanted to know what happened, and I’m glad I read it – I think I simply ruined it for myself, as I set the bar waaaaay too high. Bad move, past me. There is also a lot more murder mystery to this than I was expecting (apparently I completely ignored the bit on the back where it says “a classic mystery with the intrigue of Agatha Christie”), which isn’t really my thing.
The book centres around Julie’s summer – the last summer spent in her family home, as it has been sold to cover her late grandfather’s debts. But what she thinks will be a melancholy summer turns into more, when realises the family pearls have vanished, then she wakes up in hospital after being hit over the head on the riverbank, quickly followed by a man going missing. Could all these things be connected? Will Julie regain her memories quick enough to discover the truth, before the wrong people are punished?
As Julie meets the local tinker family and befriends Ellen, it is easy to see where the strong, clever CNV Julie will grow from, as well as how she manages to undo the knots in the mystery.
I think that if I had gone in knowing it would be so focused on a mystery, I probably would have enjoyed it more, so I guess I have to remember that for the future – whatever hype you hear or you give a book before you read it, forget about it before you actually begin…