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Friday, January 14, 2011

Alchemy and Meggy Swann

Karen Cushman is well known for her Newbery Medal winning book, The Midwife’s Apprentice. Her newest historical fiction novel, Alchemy and Meggy Swann, transports the reader to grungy, dark London during the Elizabethan age. Meggy Swann, a thirteen-year-old who walks with the aid of wooden crutches, is sent to live with her father, a man obsessed with his alchemy practice. Meggy is surprised to learn that he doesn’t want her there. He is focused on changing common metals into precious gold. Cushman’s powerful use of Elizabethan phrases adds authenticity to this story. Meggy befriends a boy named Roger who works for her father. He happens to be the first person who isn’t frightened by her handicap. He is an actor in the local troupe which exposes readers to entertainment in the days of Shakespeare. Meggy tries desperately to protect her father once his science gets him involved in a plot for murder. In the process, Meggy will gain things more valuable than gold. The audiobook version of this book produced by Listening Library won a 2011 Honor Audiobook award from the Odyssey Award . Click below to watch the author introduce her book and tell you about her writing process.

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