Publisher: Roaring Brook
Edition: Hardcover, 2008
Cat (Catherine) Royal is a charming, vivid, endearing, and plucky heroine. Readers really care about what happens to her and her friends. The host of friends are also drawn with details and depth. One can practically hear them speak and see them act and react to Cat’s adventures. The clever device of having Cat being immersed and specially educated in the backstage of a theater gives credit to Cat’s deft hand at recounting events and using words above her station in life. For example, on p. 89: (I cast around for some suitably Shakespearean language to impress them, not having in truth a clue what I was talking about) “the wickedness of treason, the sting of revenge, and the noble disinterestedness of love, all set behind the scenes.”
The fast pace, the string of new obstacles, the many friendships between the characters, the gradual and satisfying unraveling of the truth about the Diamond, the breezy and energetic prose — all contribute to make a completely enjoyable reading experience. I especially appreciate how Cat got into bigger and bigger trouble and deeper and deeper danger as the story moves along so that toward the end of the tale, you are really anxious to see how she gets out of this last huge scrape.