Monday, July 4, 2011
Cat Among the Pigeons
Roaring Brook Press, 2006
I didn't mention this but just like the first book, the first pages of this book share hilarious blurbs from such distinguished personages as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Beethoven.
Sequel to The Diamond of Drury Lane, where we are introduced to Cat Royal, Pedro Hawkins, and her assorted friends, acquaintances, and enemies in and around the theater.
I think I actually liked this even more than the first book as the personalities were already established so we got to dive right in to the story, which revolves around a very important historical event: the battle for abolition of slavery across Great Britain and its territories. Per my research, slavery was abolished in England itself in 1772 but it was not until 1833 that is was abolished across Great Britain and its colonies. Consequently it was a hot button issue. Pedro had thought he had escaped his cruel master Hawkins but that man shows up here, determined to reclaim his property. Although he cannot do so in England, once he sets sail for the West Indies, he can legally do as he wants.
Cat, of course, inserts herself fighting on behalf of Pedro and finds herself wanted, leading to a series of improbable disguises. First she masquerades as a boy in Lord Francis's public school and then she hides out with Quakers, attempting to act as a prim and proper lady. I loved those scenes of her disguise and Cat continued to be a charming narrator.
However I am somewhat uncomfortable with the role of Billy "Boil" Shepherd, whose twisted relationship with Cat becomes even more so. His behavior is really quite frightening, even if he does have some scruples. He has also moved up in the world, gaining more areas under his control for his power and financial prosperity. SPOILER: I think I've read that they become a couple in later books and I'm wondering how Cat gets past his boorish behavior in this and the previous book. There must be a lot of development of his character. END SPOILER
Overall: Another enchanting diversion with Cat Royal; superior to the first book and with the promise of a Parisian trip amid revolution in the third.
Read for British Books Challenge.