Castle in the middle of the lake

Castle in the middle of the lake

Katherine Rundell: The Good Thieves (Bloomsbury Publishing 2019)

Many thanks to Manó Könyvek Kiadó for sending me the book!

Katherine Rundell has won numerous prestigious literary awards for her middle grade novels. The Good Thieves is her fifth book which received the Foyles Children’s Book of the Year award in 2019.

The main protagonist of the story is Vita, who arrives to New York with her mother to visit her grandfather and persuade him to return to England with them. The grandfather was dispossessed by a notorious fraud after the death of his wife. The little girl then decides to get her grandfather’s home back, a castle in the middle of a lake. In her head, the PLAN was formulated, and it will be implemented with the help of a pickpocket, an animal tamer, and an acrobat. These four children are the “Good Thieves”.

It’s a very nice story, yet it was so exciting that I could hardly wait to see what would happen in the next chapter and read it almost in one sitting. Kids engage in hair-raising adventures as they fight for the truth. The story is about love, belonging, dealing with loss, and tolerance. The scenery is New York in the 1920s at the time of the alcohol ban, with the bustling Central Park during the day and speakeasies (illicit establishments that sell alcoholic beverages) flourishing at night. It is also excellent as guidebook or historical documentation.

The beautiful cover and interior illustrations were made by Matt Saunders and translated into Hungarian by Yvette Nánási. The author’s other book, The Rooftoppers, was also published in Hungarian in 2019 by the Manó Könyvek Kiadó. Both are worth reading!