The Children of the King

[Reading] ➷ The Children of the King ➭ Sonya Hartnett – Johndore.co.uk
  • Kindle Edition
  • 320 pages
  • The Children of the King
  • Sonya Hartnett
  • Italian
  • 16 February 2018

About the Author: Sonya Hartnett

Cameron S Redfern is, or was, something of an Australian child prodigy author She wrote her first novel at the age of thirteen, and had it published at fifteen Her books have also been published in Europe and North America Her novels have been published traditionally as young adult fiction, but her writing often crosses the divide and is also enjoyed by adults I chose to narrate the story through a child because people like children, they WANT to like them, says Sonya Hartnett of THURSDAY S CHILD, her brilliantly original coming of age story set during the Great Depression Harper the young narrator is the reason you get sucked into the characters Even I, who like to distance myself from my characters, felt protective of her The acclaimed author of several award winning young adult novels the first written when she was just 13 Australian native Sonya Hartnett says she wrote THURSDAY S CHILD in a mere three months It just pulled itself together, she says I d wanted to set a story in the Depression for some time, in an isolated community that was strongly supportive Once the dual ideas of the boy who tunneled and the young girl as narrator gelled, it almost wrote itself I had the cast, I had the setting, I just said go Accustomed to writing about edgy young adult characters, Sonya Hartnett says that identifying with a seven year old protagonist was a challenge at first I found her difficult to approach, she admits I m not really used to children But once I started, I found you could have fun with her she could tell lies, she could deny the truth Whereas most children know only what adults want them to know, the author discovered she could bypass that limitation by turning Harper into an eavesdropper and giving her older siblings to reveal realities In her second book with Candlewick Press, WHAT THE BIRDS SEE, Sonya Hartnett once again creates a portrait of childhood This time the subject is Adrian, a nine year old boy living in the suburbs with his gran and Uncle For Adrian, childhood is shaped by fear his dread of quicksand, shopping centers, and self combustion Then one day, three neighborhood children vanish an incident based on a real case in Australia in the 1960s and Adrian comes to see just how tenuous his safety net is In speaking about Adrian, the author provocatively reveals parallels between herself and her character She says, Adrian is me in many respects, and many of the things that happen to him happened to me Sonya Hartnett s consistently inspired writing has built her a legion of devotees Of THURSDAY S CHILD, Newbery Honor winning author Carolyn Coman says, Hartnett s beautifully rendered vision drew me in from the very start and carried me along, above and under ground, to the very end This book amazed me The achingly beautiful WHAT THE BIRDS SEE has just as quickly garnered critical acclaim Notes PUBLISHERS WEEKLY in a starred review, Hartnett again captures the ineffable fragility of childhood in this keenly observed tale Sophisticated readers will appreciate the work s acuity and poetic integrity Sonya Hartnett s third young adult novel, STRIPES OF THE SIDESTEP WOLF was named an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults.Sonya Hartnett lives near Melbourne, Australia Her most recent novels are SURRENDER, a mesmerizing psychological thriller, and THE SILVER DONKEY, a gently told fable for middle grade readers.


The Children of the KingInghilterra, Cecily, Dodici Anni, E Suo Fratello Jeremy, Quattordici, Sono Stati Mandati In Campagna Nella Lussuosa Dimora Di Famiglia Per Sfuggire All Ormai Imminente E Temuto Grande Bombardamento Di Londra Insieme A Loro C May, Una Piccola Sfollata Che La Famiglia Ha Accolto Per Il Periodo Della Guerra Durante Le Loro Scorribande, Le Due Ragazzine Scoprono Le Rovine Di Un Castello Su Cui Aleggia Un Antica Leggenda Una Storia Crudele E Terribile, Per Nulla Adatta Alle Orecchie Di Tre Ragazzi, Ma Che Proprio Per Questo Loro Vogliono Conoscere Una Storia Dalle Atmosfere Shakesperiane Che Narra Di Un Duca Assetato Di Potere Vissuto Diversi Secoli Prima E Di Due Principi Scomparsi Nella Rievocazione Di Quel Tempo Lontano E Nei Drammatici Giorni Di Guerra Che I Ragazzi Stanno Vivendo, Passato E Presente Si Fondono Per Dare Vita A Una Storia Avventurosa E Piena Di Mistero, Come Sprofondate Nel Mistero Sono Le Rovine Di Snow Castle

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10 thoughts on “The Children of the King

  1. Debbie Gascoyne says:

    I so much wanted to like this, and it feels odd in a way _not_ to be in raptures about it I can t help thinking that those who are giving this novel rapturous reviews are reviewing the book for what it is trying to be rather than for what it is It is undeniably beautifully written, with a grave, distanced narrative voice that at times, especially early on in the novel, reminded me of no lesser personage than Virginia Woolf The central premise is beguiling two privileged children are evacuated to a country estate just prior to the terrible bombing of London in WW2 At the train station, on their arrival in the country, a group of working class children is waiting for foster homes, and the youngest child persuades her mother to take one in Their uncle, meanwhile, is preoccupied with the war and tells the children a story of other children affected by politics, warfare, human greed, and that story overlaps with their own There is something of the atmosphere of Tom s Midnight Garden, or A Traveller in Time, but sadly none of the power, though it is affecting in many ways It is a middle grade novel with adult themes, and I feel it succeeds at neither Hartnett does not give herself the luxury of exploring those themes so much is touched on, hinted at, but nothing is fully developed The ending is rushed, and I felt quite let down, though the final line is quite devastating There s a certain frustration in reading something that might have been a masterpiece but just didn t quite hit the mark.

  2. ALPHAreader says:

    Cecily and Jeremy Lockwood, along with their mother, are fleeing London and going to the countryside While the city blackens itself in preparation for air raids, and newspaper headlines scream that France will fall the Lockwood children are being whisked away to Heron Hall, to stay with their Uncle Peregrine while their father holds the fort in London.Upon arrival at the country train station, the number of children with nametags and suitcases delights twelve year old Cecily She begs her mother to take home one of the evacuee children, and fourteen year old Jeremy agrees though his reasons are purely patriotic, while Cecily envisions taking home a friend to amuse her at Heron Hall Cecily chooses a black haired girl called May Bright, who is ten years old and wise beyond her years.Life at Heron Hall is not at all what May is used to There s a cook who takes food orders, maids and grandiose bedrooms The mansion sits on a sprawling bit of land that May enjoys exploring with Peregrine s dog, Byron To escape Cecily s incessant chatter and avoid disturbing Peregrine s important thinking work, May walks around the estate and discovers a river, on the other side of which lays ruins.The ruins intrigue all three children, even so when Uncle Peregrine tells them that it was once a place called Snow Castle He assures the children that there s a terrible tale associated with the place, a tale that is unfit for childish ears Ever persistent, the children manage to coax a story in instalments out of Peregrine, about the dastardly devious story behind Snow Castle But even as the tale is being told, the Castle holds a new fascination for Cecily and May Two boys are hiding in the castle s ruin, brothers who speak of spies and watching eyes Meanwhile, Jeremy feels the valour and bravery are pulling him back to London, back to his father As the war unfolds, he feels a sense of duty that belies his young years The Children of the King is a new young adult novel from popular Australian author, Sonya Hartnett.Hartnett s book really feels like a hark back to children s stories of long ago very reminiscent of C.S Lewis and Enid Blyton The connections, for me, were in Hartnett s masterful use of language and description her writing is lyrical and wonderful, but not difficult I d say, a 12 age bracket readership And even though Hartnett uses an omniscient narrator, she still gives wonderful perception and insight into each of the characters I particularly loved Cecily who starts out as a snobbish princess, and doesn t precisely command likability but as the novel progresses and Hartnett writes a sway in her character and perception, you do start cheering her on and revelling in her transformation May Bright was an equally wonderful character, even so for being so young at just ten year s of age she s whip quick and wise beyond her years, a thoughtful young lady with an iron clad backbone that would be enviable in an adult, but in such a young protagonist is downright brilliant Alarmed to find herself pulled into the discussion and, worse, made its central object, May changed the subject My father went to France, she offered The statement cooled the room Your father s a soldier asked Peregrine He wasn t before the war, but he became one He volunteered Yes, he volunteered France said Cecily Are you very worried about him Of course she s worried about him Don t be thick, Cecily May glanced around at her adopted family, who gazed back as if she were a most exotic thing When she spoke, it was carefully My mum says being worried can t change what happens It can t make things better So you should just live and be happy about what s good That s what I think, anyway Jeremy is another incredible young character, and his journey is the most heartbreaking of all Not to give anything away, but some of his scenes had my heart leaping into my throat they are brilliant and tragic for the way Hartnett writes a crumbling of innocence, a confrontation of mortality courtesy of the war.In thinking that Hartnett s story was reminiscent of Lewis and Blyton, I was half expecting the novel to take a fantastical turn The children are thinking the same thing, though for very different reasons May and Cecily are coming to think of Snow Castle as a mystical place, particularly when they discover two brothers camped out there and Uncle Peregrine starts telling a story that connects to Richard III and the Princes in the Tower Jeremy, on the other hand, has delusions of war he, like many young men his age, think of fighting as a patriotic duty and the glory of victory.Hartnett s story had me thinking about the infamous quote from Hamlet There are things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy The children come to learn as does the reader that there are, literally, things in heaven and earth for all that readers, and the children, feel like there is something grand and magical lurking, they soon realize that the adventure and the tragedy is in their own lives and the past As the war creeps into their young minds, as they are each confronted with the truth and brutality of war, they soon realize that whatever they dreamed up could not possibly match what is playing out in battlefields across Europe, and the Pacific Equally chilling for the children is the historic 16th century murder mystery of the Princes in the Tower , which is frightening than anything Uncle Peregrine could have dreamed up Thus, The Children of the King is part ghost story, part coming of age with the loss of innocence , as we read Cecily, Jeremy and May navigate their war torn childhood, to become a little bit wiser, and tougher.Sonya Hartnett is, without a doubt, one of Australia s master storytellers that title should not be bandied about lightly, and when you read a novel as hauntingly sublime as The Children of the King you do realize it is an utterly deserved title.

  3. Emily says:

    This is the third book I have read by Sonya Hartnett, and I really liked it I really like her books I have one big problem with them though I don t really think they are books for children They have themes and structures that are just too complex for children to fully grasp This book is especially misleading Its cover, description and characters are all about juveniles, but once I started reading it, I knew that were so many nuances in this book that a child would never truly appreciate them fully The depth of the book and its complex themes Power s indecent hold and eventual decay the effects of loss and fear are beautifully enclosed in what would be a simple ghost story set during WWII in rural England It was incredibly powerful and moving, and the end sucked the breath from me with its bittersweet truth I think a tween could read this book and maybe enjoy it, but to really appreciate it for what it is, it would need to be read again as an adult, and again, and again When I read The Silver Donkey, I remember thinking of it as a new classic Classics are timeless and should be read over and over Add The Children of the King to this list, and share it with children But recommend it to their parents too, and then take a poll to find out who liked it better

  4. The Library Lady says:

    Having recognized quickly who the Children of the King are, I was relieved to skim through the rest of this novel Cecily is an incredibly annoying heroine and May isn t much better The prose is stiff to the point where I assumed because of the Lindgren award mention that the author wrote in another language and that this is a bad translation It isn t.Kids don t read books because of awards unless their poor, misguided teachers force them to , they read books because they are readable and have something to say to them This book doesn t have those qualities and once the book reviewers are clearly reviewing these without seeing them through the eyes of a child reader.

  5. Susan Dunn says:

    Meh Two children are sent from their home in London to stay with their uncle in the countryside Along the way they pick up a girl who is among the evacuees Once settled in their uncle s home, the two girls explore the grounds and come across the remains of an old castle They encounter two boys who are rather rude to them, and when they ask Cecily s uncle about the castle later that day, he tells them a sad and brutal story about the tower and its inhabitants The story within a story format is a bit confusing, and none of the characters are really likeable I ll say it again meh.

  6. Joan says:

    I really didn t find this particularly good in spite of large swatches of areas where the writing was close to poetic The nasty characters of almost everyone in the story ruined it for me The main character, Cecily, was a spoiled, not too bright brat Her older brother was a whiny adult wannabe, in short, your typical teen but pretty whiny Their mother was Cecily grown up The young evacuee they take in was a pleasant but rather bland person The uncle had an underlying mysterious aura about him that made him rather interesting but not enough to compensate for the other characters These characters seem to exist mostly to retell the Story of Richard III Even here there were problems The most obvious one being that the recent discovery of Richard III s skeleton where he was buried Or perhaps dumped would be a better term It was a adequate enough summary of the story, although I would question the attempt at the end to claim he didn t murder the Princes in the Tower It is highly unlikely that those two boys ever left the Tower of London again The ghost part of the story was ambiguous and really, not all that necessary and felt like filler If it wasn t for some excellent prose here and there, in no consistent amounts, this would have gotten 1 star Not recommended

  7. Judy says:

    Sonya Hartnett writes a book as an artist paints a painting The words go together like colour harmonies and sometimes, deliberate disharmonies She has a quite amazing ability to observe human behaviour and misbehaviour and to capture the kernel of it in an elegant way on the page, and yet she can gleefully throw reality to the wind if it doesn t suit her composition I found this particularly noticeable with her character Peregrine When he is giving longer speeches, it doesn t suit Hartnett to give him a natural human mode of language instead he is poetry on legs It s like looking at a gorgeous expressionist painting one is aware that the lines do not describe a real human form They are beautiful than mere reality.

  8. Alex (not a dude) Baugh says:

    With the fall of France and the war becoming worse for Britain, it was time for the Lockwood children, 12 year old Cecily and Jeremy, 14, to leave London So it was off to Heron Hall, to their Uncle Peregrine Lockwood s estate, with their mother, Heloise Traveling on the train to the same village were groups of school children also being evacuated from London by the government These school children are taken to the town hall and as Cecily watches them leaving one by one with women who were to care for them for the duration, she asks her mother if they couldn t also have a child May Bright, 10, seems to fit the bill, despite her indifference towards Cecily.Feeling powerless and picked on by her brother, Cecily wants someone that she can control and have power over But May is an independent child with a mind of her own And though she isn t impressed that her new luxurious surroundings at Heron Hall are than she is accustomed to, it is the vast fields and woods that attract her And in among it all are the remains of Snow Castle, a once beautiful castle made of white marble, where she meets two young oddly dressed boys At first, believing they are evacuees running away from an unpleasant placement, it soon becomes apparent that something else is going on with these two boys.When May and Cecily ask Uncle Peregrine about the castle, he begins to tell them, little by little each evening, the haunting story of Richard III, of his brother King Edward IV s death, of his two sons, the eldest of whom is next in line for the throne and how Richard had hidden the two boys in the Tower of London in order to make himself King Meanwhile, Jeremy, frustrated that he can t do anything to help the war effort but hid out in the country, he wants so very much to make his mark on the world Each day, Jeremy reads the newspaper accounts of the war, becoming and exasperated that he is not there help And so one night, he runs away to London There, he discovers a burning, war torn London that he could never have imagined Stunned by what he sees, feeling smaller than ever, Jeremy manages to do the very thing he sets out to do help the war effort It is his coming of age moment and Jeremy returns to Heron Hall a very different boy.No one can turn a phrase, creating a hauntingly brilliant story quite like Sonya Hartnett can Gracefully creating lyrical phrases, and characters that are hard to forget as you begin to recognize parts of yourself in each of them There is spoiled, selfish Cecily, who, the reader thinks, will grow up to be just like her shallow, socialite mother, Heloise, but who surprises us so often May, quiet and thoughtful, careful but unafraid, she becomes a favorite of Uncle Peregrine kindred souls maybe Jeremy, on the cusp of becoming a young man and wanting to get there way too soon all so realistically and captivatingly drawn The Children of the King is the story of the powerlessness of children and the people who want to control them of the two princes at the hands of Richard III who craves power and control, of England s children at the hands of German bombs, sent by a dictator who also craves power and control But it is on a smaller scale that we see how little power and control others really have over us unless we let them Despite all Cecily s attempt at controlling May, she is the one who remains an independent spirit And it is by running away, that Jeremy discovers the power each of us has to change another person s life.Just as she did in The Midnight Garden, Hartnett once again uses the device of magical realism and of a story within a story Here, they is used as a means of connecting past and present, reminding us that the past is never past, it lives in the present or as May tells the two boys in the castle Everything is connected We are here because you are here And the dialectic that Hartnett creates in The Children of the King is just wonderful.I should tell readers that there are a few graphic descriptions when Jeremy goes back to London, giving a sense of realism, but not graphic enough to scare away middle grade readers And one does not need to already know the story of Richard III to understand Uncle Peregrine s story, he weaves in enough of it for readers to understand it perfectly well.I put off reading this novel because I was afraid that I would be disappointed The Midnight Garden was such a brilliant book, had Hartnett set her own bar too high No, the bar is high but The Children of the King is right up there But, in the end, all I can says is fans of Sonya Hartnett, rejoice To those who will be reading her for the first time with this novel, you are lucky ducks.This book is recommended for readers age 10 This book was and eARC from Net GalleyThe Children of the King will be available on March 25, 2014This review was originally posted on The Children s War

  9. Tasha says:

    Along with their mother, Cecily and Jeremy are sent from London to the English countryside during the bombings of World War II Seeing other children who don t have parents or family with them, Cecily decides that her family should take in one of the young refugees So she picks out May, a girl who looks just the right age to be a friend but also still young enough that Cecily can be in charge But May won t be contained by Cecily, and soon is out exploring the countryside on her own She is the one who first discovers the two boys hiding in the ruins of Snow Castle Cecily joins May and the two of them meet the boys who are dressed in old fashioned clothing Meanwhile in the evenings, Cecily and Jeremy s uncle Peregrine tells the story of Richard III and his nephews The two stories weave together, two levels of history intertwined into one gorgeous tale.Hartnett does so much in this book without ever losing sight of the heart of the story Her story telling is phenomenal She shares details of life during the Blitz and creates a warm and rich world of safety in the country Within the World War II setting, she manages to have a character tell of another historical period with its own harrowing historical details So often in a book with a story within a story, one is better than the other Here they are both beautifully done and complement each other nicely.Throughout the book, Hartnett uses imagery and beautiful prose Her writing is rich and dazzling, painting pictures of the countryside, the city, Heron Hall, and England for readers Here is how the study in Heron Hall is described for readers on page 35 This is just part of the lush writing that sets the stage Underfoot were flattened rugs, and a fire karate chopped at the throat of the chimney There was a good smell of cigarette smoke mixed with toast and dog this room was a den, the lair of Heron Hall s owner Here, rather than in any of the grander rooms, was there the house s living was done.Hartnett s characters are done with an ear for tone Jeremy and Cecily have a mother who is mostly absent though she is right there all the time She is disengaged from their days and even when they are out in town together she is separate and withdrawn Cecily too is a rather unlikeable character And what a risk that is, to create a story primarily about a little girl who is pushy, bossy and whiny Yet it is Cecily who makes the book work, the character who brings the responses, the action, and keeps it from being overly sweet or convenient Gorgeously written with a complex storyline and interesting characters, this is one incredible piece of historical fiction Appropriate for ages 9 12.

  10. Sally906 says:

    During WWII people s lives from both sides of the conflict were turned upside down In England city children were evacuated to the country for their safety Jeremy 14 and Cecily 12 were sent to the country, but their evacuation was a bit comfortable as they went to a large manor house to stay with their uncle Peregrine, and their mother went with them At the station they decide to offer their home to one of the little evacuees, May 10 and they all head off to Heron Hall with its very own collection of ruins May meets two young boys hiding in the ruins and it soon becomes apparent that they are not run away evacuees, but little ghosts who are not moving on.THE CHILDREN OF THE KING combines two historical events very skillfully As Uncle Peregrine relates the history of the ruins and how they are linked to Richard III and the missing Princes in the tower the war arrives in Britain The descriptions of the bombing of London are among the best I have read and moved me to tears These scenes star Jeremy who is a wonderful character a young boy on the cusp of manhood frustrated that he can t go and fight for his country wanting so badly to make his mark in life Stopped from doing this by his age and the adults that care for him his life has parallels to Prince Edward the oldest prince from the tower.Cecily was a character I found hard to love an uppity little madam who has been spoiled and cosseted her own life and is only just beginning to realize that life is not all roses War is about death there is no getting around it and Cecily is now of an age where she realizes things are serious but just doesn t want to face facts yet For the first time in her 12 years of life, things are not falling into place for her May was picked for Cecily to lord over, and May just didn t play the game so gradually Cecily comes to find out that sometimes you have to play nicely I don t think Cecily is a horrible person, she just hadn t had to worry about what other people might want May was also a lovely little character Although at 10 she is the youngest of the trio she is wise beyond her years Her father has gone to France to fight and her mother is working in a factory making parachutes Cecily scoffs at this activity being important for the war effort until it is pointed out that the soldiers would need parachutes when they jump out of planes to kill the enemy The two young boys are of course the princes from the Tower, they appear only briefly yet their story is crucial to the plot Part ghost story, part coming of age THE CHILDREN OF THE KING is a wonderful read and would make a great discussion book for children in their early teens.