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I, Coriander

Nestlé Children's Book Prize, 2005

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781444015676

Price: £7.99

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A stunning story set in seventeenth-century London and the fairy world, from a CARNEGIE MEDAL and COSTA-prizewinning author.

The story is told by Coriander, daughter of a silk merchant in 1650s London. Her idyllic childhood ends when her mother dies and her father goes away, leaving Coriander with her stepmother, a widow who is in cahoots with a fundamentalist Puritan preacher. She is shut away in a chest and left to die, but emerges into the fairy world from which her mother came, and where time has no meaning. When she returns, charged with a task that will transform her life, she is seventeen.

This is a book filled with enchantments — a pair of silver shoes, a fairy shadow, a prince transformed into a fox – that contrast with the heartbreaking loss and cruelty of Coriander’s life in the real world. With its brilliantly realised setting of old London Bridge, and underpinned by the conflict between Royalists and Puritans, it is a terrific page-turner, involving kidnapping, murder and romance, and an abundance of vivid characters.

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Reviews

'a thrilling story that mixes historic realism, credible characters and the dreamy, sometimes violent, dimension of a netherworld. The two blend seamlessly in this gripping and orginal story that abounds with gritty suspense. An excellent read.'
Mary Arrigan, SUNDAY TRIBUNE
'a beautifully written story. Sally Gardner has clearly researched the times and customs very well indeed for she had me transported back to that far off time. I would definitely recommend this book, told with such care and feeling.'
Muriel Barking, NEW BOOKS
'Beautifullly written, completely absorbing story... the author evokes the streets of London and the political upheavals of the day with compelling ease.
Christine Kidney, THE BOOK MAGAZINE
'a book filled with enchantment and difference. You won't read many novels as beautifully written and as enthralling as this rich, spellibinding, new-off-the-black fairy tale.'
John Millen, SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
'will captivate readers with its riveting and detailed parallel storylines, its intriguingly drawn characters, and, above all, its engrossing first person narration'
Marla Arback, YABOOKSCENTRAL.COM
'completely engaging'
Jennifer Taylor, THE BOOKSELLER
'the skillful writing sweeps through mid-seventeenth century London.'
SCHOOL LIBRARIAN
What a delight!
Fiction Focus
Beautifully written, completely absorbing ... Magical
The Book Magazine
Brilliant descriptions, powerfully evoking the sounds and smells of London in the period and superbly drawn characters combine with a delicately constructed plot to make this book a real pleasure
Good Book Guide
A beautifully written tale of suspense and intrigue
The Historical Novels Review
Spellbinding
Haverhill Echo
A very unusual, poetic tale
The Northern Echo
An extraordinarily beautiful and gripping tale
The Times
Enchanting
The Children's Bookseller
Richly written, highly visual and full of accurate historical detail
Children's Education
Gripping ... as vivd as Pepys' diary ... strikingly original ... a very special book indeed
School Librarian
An original and enigmatic novel
The Spectator