Eleven-year-old Clover Moon lives in a back street slum in Victorian London with her six siblings and her put-upon father. Mildred, her unpleasant step-mother, beats her and won’t let her go to school. Clover loves drawing and has a lively imagination, and she tries to find some joy in life—so long as Mildred doesn’t know. One day, while with her doll-maker friend, Clover meets someone who might just be able to help her. Perhaps there’s a chance for her in life, after all?
Jacqueline Wilson is very good at getting across the harshness of life for the urban poor without losing touch with her characters’ humanity. She doesn’t pull her punches but shows the reader that something positive can come out of even the most heart-rending situations.
Clover is a real heroine: clever, brave and resourceful—and with a fiery temper. Jacqueline Wilson doesn’t shy away from brutality, grief and loss and we on Clover’s side as she struggles to cope with the blows that fate deals her. I admit I found the unrelenting grimness of Clover’s life in the first half of the book somewhat overwhelming. I was relieved when she finally escaped—even though it, too, had its own dangers. At least she could be proactive and find a way to move forward. For girls, age ten plus.
I learnt a lot from this book; I didn’t know that children were beaten in Victorian times. Poor Clover had a horrible step-mother who hit her and wouldn’t let her go to her little sister’s funeral. It made me cry. (Me too –EH) I love Clover’s character. She is a very cheeky and daring girl. She also has a knack with small children and is very kind to them. The book was very long; I think it should be shorter.
Rose Abulafia, Age 9