The White Phoenix

By Catherine Randall (Book Guild Publishing Ltd)

The White Phoenix By Catherine Randall

Aansah's review
I really enjoyed this book. The plot was amazing, and it showed the patriarchal society during that time, and the effect war had on how society viewed certain people who had views which differed from theirs.

Honestly, I’m not sure why I chose this book to read. I think it might have been the fact that it was centered around a bookshop, or that it had a female protagonist. It stood out to me, so I chose this book.

The main character, Lizzie, is shown to have a strong personality, which I really liked, because it kind of rebelled against what society expected. She shows this when she persuades her mother not to marry Pedley, even though marrying him would have secured the business. However, she thought of her family’s happiness before society’s expectations. I learned quite a lot about the year 1666, especially about attitudes towards Catholics and the Great Fire of London, and also a bit about the Great Plague that had taken place just a year before the story began. It has quite a few links to history, and it explored a lot of societal expectations during the time it was set in.

Probably the thing that stood out to me the most is how much precaution Lizzie and her family had to take when it came to associating with their French customers, that even one smile could make them look like “traitors” to the general public.

The story was quite serious, but there were a few lighter bits in the story.

I would honestly recommend this book, especially those who love history. I loved it, and it gave me a lot of information that I previously didn’t know before.

Freya's review
The White Phoenix is probably one of my favourite books I have read as it has many twists and turns and likeable characters. The plot is that the main character Lizzie’s father died, and her mother has inherited the white phoenix: the family bookshop. It takes place in 1666 which has one main event: the fire of London. There are also many other disasters in the year that this book takes place in. Including the war against France. I could not put the book down the second I read the first chapter. I would say that the book starts a bit quickly. With a very important part happening on the first few pages. Some characters are not very well described with not much backstory. Other than those two things it is a great book. I would recommend it to anybody ages 9-14. I rate it 5/5 stars and is the perfect length. I'm not sure if there could be a sequel as it ended on a place that could be followed on, but the book is also perfect as a one off. I also enjoyed the fact that it was accurate with what they would eat and wear. The front cover also draws you in as soon as you see it.

Charlotte's review
I am afraid that this wasn’t the BEST book I have ever read! Although it had great description and seemed like it would be a great story, I felt it was a little too slow and needed to go faster! There were some major bits towards the beginning but nothing that I thought was really getting me into the book! Sadly I gave up as I was not enjoying it much, however I do think the ends of the paragraphs did pull me into the book more but it just wasn’t clinging well enough!

3 out of 5 stars.

Sol's review
This was a great book, with twists, turns and an interesting storyline. I learnt a lot about the history of London from this book. It also has a classic villain with similar traits to a antagonist of Shakespeare’s work! I couldn’t put it down and was so disappointed when I finally finished it. I wanted it to go on forever! It’s great for anyone who wants to know about the fire of London, Catholic French Rivalry and Bookshop and owning and binding books in the 17th century. I can’t wait to read more of Catherine Randall’s books once they are released.

5 out of 5 stars.

Ahaan's review
The White Phoenix, by Catherine Randall is a fast paced, interesting book set in London 1666. It is a historical fiction book, and the protagonist is a brave girl named Lizzie, whose father suddenly died when she was not in the city. Her family must take over their bookshop, The White Phoenix.

I learnt from the book how hard it was to run a business in the 17th century and particular from a female perspective. The time it was set was when the Great Fire of London occurred, which was very interesting as I had previously studied it in primary school but never really considered the impact on ordinary lives.

This book is thought provoking and informative of the past, it is a real page-turner. It is a great book, and I recommend it to anyone aged 9-13. My overall rating is 9/10.

Emma's review
This book had me gripped from the first page to the final conflict. It’s all from the perspective of Lizzie Hopper, a girl living through the uncertain and unpredictable times of 1666. The Plague has hit London but Lizzie had a burning desire to stay in The White Phoenix, a bookshop which was once her fathers. 

My favourite character is Sam because his opinions are torn and toyed with but are eventually overcome in an hour of panic. He is the most compelling character in the story and my opinion on him changed several times over from pure hatred to admiration. I knew little about the 1600s before I read this book and I also knew little about the horrific events that occurred. From this book I have learnt fascinating facts about life in the mid-1600s, all about religious beliefs, foreign opinions and sexist rules women had to abide by.

Still now I am captivated by the mysterious cliff-hangers left untied, like how did Lizzie's father really die (as we find out that it was not by natural causes)? Or where did Kit vanish to (as he never returns after his peculiar disappearance)?

Since reading this book I have become absorbed by life in the 1600s and how they recovered after the Monarchy Restoration, Plague and Great Fire of London. So much that I have been on the lookout for books set in a similar time period.

The only issue I had was that the books started off quite slowly before I was truly engrossed in this story. But overall, I would absolutely recommend this book to another student for its enthralling storyline and captivating plot twists. 10/10 would read again!

Sienna's review
I found ‘The White Phoenix’ such a good and intriguing story to read. Normally with books I would just read them without like an imagination going on inside my head, but there was something different with this book. I don’t know what it was or how they did it, but the author made it so when I was reading the book it made me feel as if I was a part of the story and I even had an imagination of what the characters looked like and how they sounded.

My favourite character in this book has to be Lizzie, the main character. I think this was because of how confident she was and how she always stuck to her gut feelings. She also seemed as quite of a protective person in the book as she would get worried when she couldn’t find somebody or if something didn’t feel right.

One thing I liked in this story was how you can tell when a character knows something is up and then nobody listens to them, and then later on in the story it does go wrong and you kind of feel as if you’re on the same team as the person who knew something was up, it’s hard to explain but you feel as if you’re looking down at the person who got it wrong and you’re laughing at how they didn’t see what’s wrong.

My favourite section in the book must have to be when the fire in London started, yes I know that sounds weird, my favourite part being when everything goes wrong but it was just how everything was set out and the characters actions. It was also like how it makes you feel like you’re with them and it even makes you feel as if you need to also get out of the fire and you get all panicked when something holds you up.

In the book, my least favourite character was the characters least favourite character if that makes sense. My least favourite characters name is Master Pedley. He is so annoying. It’s how he feels he is the boss of everything and tries to take this business after the owner of it died and left the rest of his family to run it. He is my least favourite character because of how he used blackmail against Lizzie (my favourite character) so that she wouldn’t tell the rest of the family what he was doing.

My least favourite parts in the book are where Lizzie is trying to explain to her mum that Master Pedley is trying to take over and she doesn’t believe it and ignores her.
Another one of my least favourite parts are where when Master Pedley finally takes over the white Phoenix book shop and the family have to leave their beloved home behind and when after they have left Lizzies mother realises what has happened to them and that things need to change.

It made me so happy in the book when Master Pedley got arrested on suspicion of assault and that he didn’t have anything to prove against Lizzie and her family that they were helping French so that they were all fine in the end .

I rate this book a 100/100 definitely! 
I would recommend it to anybody and it doesn’t matter if they like history or reading or they don’t like it.

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