Author: Elizabeth Wein
Title: The Pearl Thief
Previously Read by the Same Author:
Publication Info: Los Angeles : Hyperion, 2017.
Part of the cycle of loosely-tied together novels about women during World War II, The Pearl Thief acts as a prequel to Code Name Verity. The novel’s protagonist is Julie Beaufort-Stuart, the Scottish aristocrat who is one of the two main characters of the earlier novel, and is set one year prior to the war when she is just 15. She returns home her family estate from boarding school to find herself embroiled in a mystery regarding the disappearance of a scholar working with artifacts recovered from their property.
Julie is a great character, impulsive and bold that make her stand out among the staid expectations of her time and class. Much of the novel explores her new friendship with the siblings Ellen and Euan McEwen, who are members of Highland Travellers’ community that camp nearby. The trio get into many adventures, and they encounter much prejudice against the Travelers (which Julie attempts to shield with her privilege). The book also explores Julie’s romantic attraction to Ellen and to an older man named Richard revealing her burgeoning sexuality (and hooray for bisexual representation!).
This is the first book by Elizabeth Wein that I don’t love, but it is a great character study even if I found the narrative to be a bit slight.