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Isabella Rockwell’s War


Isabella Rockwell's War cover

I received this book from the author and have done an honest review.  See my Goodreads review here.

What would you do if faced with Isabella Rockwell’s problems? Isabella is only twelve years old when her life falls apart. Her parents are dead, her beloved caretaker dies of cholera, and she is sent away from India (of the 1820’s), where she has lived all her life, to live in cold, wet London with no friends and no money. She is able to survive only because of all the unusual skills she has acquired in her short life, and because she has the ability to make good friends. In her efforts to stay alive and somehow make enough money to go back to India, Isabella soon finds herself involved in royal intrigue. I really enjoyed this well-written book. Isabella was a likeable, resourceful character. At first I was surprised at how many things she knew how to do, but each skill is explained in the story and becomes believable. The plot was interesting and kept me guessing until the end. The settings, in both India and England, were richly described, and I felt as if I was there. I hope there will be a sequel.

4 thoughts on “Isabella Rockwell’s War”

    1. Yes, it does have some of the same elements at first, but the story itself unfolds very differently. Mary Lennox and Isabella Rockwell are not the same at all. Isabella starts out as a sheltered girl in a loving family, who is taught some unusual skills. When she finds herself in London with no friends or money, she takes her future into her own hands. She is willing to resort to robbery in order to achieve her goals, although she feels guilty about it. Her compassion for others and her willingness to help them are her redeeming qualities, and because she has loyal friends in high places, she is able to accomplish what she needs. Isabella’s basic character doesn’t change. The characters in the book are more gritty and desperate as they face a brutally uncaring city, starvation, and cold. Mary Lennox, on the other hand, is a small child, sour, afraid, and unloved, who is put into a sheltered, isolated place where she slowly blossoms into a happy, healthy, loving child. Her story is much more satisfying on an inner level. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Isabella’s story. I did. But it’s like comparing the Artful Dodger to Oliver. They’re two very different people.


      1. SPEAKING OF THE ARTFUL DODGER…can I recommend Terry Pratchett’s “Dodger”? One of the better books I’ve read this year, it’s something of historical fiction that imagines what stories might have given inspiration to Charles Dickens’ novels. Great read, and few living people can write the English language like Pratchett.


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