The Gypsy Crown by Kate Forsyth is a wonderful adventure about the determination and desire of two young children to free their family. This books is recommended for fifth through ninth graders, but I absolutely loved it. Emilia and her cousin Luka are the only two family members who have not been thrown into jail due to being a gypsy and in the wrong place at the wrong time. The two set out to find their kin and reunite the magical gypsy charm bracelet. If they can get all five families and all five charms together, they may be able to free their family. Naturally, the two run into all kinds of trouble, but most of the trouble comes from being chased by one of the government’s men; Coldham, or the thief-taker, seems to know exactly where Luka and Emilia are going. It takes a bit of magic and good friends in order to avoid being captured. This tale takes place in 17th-century England and is filled with historical information, which made the story even more enjoyable to me. Forsyth also included a section at the end to talk in more detail about the historical portions of the book. Even if you child doesn’t read the note at the end, they are sure to learn about England’s governmental turmoil, as well as the restrictions and laws placed on gypsies. I also loved how the two main characters represented the different points of view at the time. Emilia strongly believes in the magic of the charms and other gypsy paraphernalia, whereas Luka believes more in using his mind and body to free his family. In fact, Luka doesn’t put much stock in the idea of magic even though his family is continually telling him that it exists. Overall, Forsyth delivers an action-packed adventure full of twists and turns making this book a great read. If you are interested in her adult books, try her fantasy series The Witches of Eileanan followed by the Rhiannon’s Ride series. They are both wonderful series filled with witches and magic, not to mention action and suspense.
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