The Pure Heart

By Trudi Tweedie (Chicken House)

The Pure Heart By Trudi Tweedie

Emily's review
This is about a girl who is the only person in her remote area who can read or write. One day she receives a letter from a rich merchant who wants her to leave her home to look after his motherless daughter.

I learnt about life, including the dangers of the plague in the 16th century.

This was a challenging book. Iseabail is surrounded by secrets, by things she cannot understand, in her new home.  She has travelled a long way; she hopes to go home to return to the life and boy she loves. 

Ava's review
The character I found the most interesting is probably the main character Iseabail who lives on an island with her mum and younger sister Elidh. She is interesting because she is usually very sneaky because she snuck around the castle and found some deep dark secrets. 

I disliked the wealthy merchant (who is the bad one in the story) because at the end of the book he was supposed to take Iseabail home but because his daughter had died he found her soul and put it in Iseabail’s body and put Isaebail’s soul in his daughters rotting corpse. 

I have learned that in the past if you lived on an island home you would have a cold and harsh winter because there would be a shortage of food and water and there would not be much warmth. 

I found the time period interesting because the people who lived on the island in the book lived in huts and it was pretty cool to read about because the roofs were made of straw. 

I found the plot very interesting. It was quite spooky and mysterious as well. 

I will remember the most about how whenever the unicorn arrived in Scotland where the rich merchant and his daughter and servants lived everything that was frozen in early winter melted at the arrival. 

I would definitely recommend this book for someone who like mystery, death, suspiciousness, spookiness and confusion.

Isabelle's review
I found this story confusing at first.  It is about a girl who has to leave her home, and the boy she loves.  She travels to an isolated Scottish mansion to look after a merchant’s daughter.  She is surrounded by secrets in her new home.

It took me a while to understand the characters and the plot. There is a lot of detail, which helped me to follow the mystery. I enjoyed finding about the history, as I travelled with the main character.

This is a challenging read for years 5 and 6.

Iustina's review
The book is about a young girl by the name Iseabail. She gets sent away from her traditional island to live with a merchant’s daughter and be her companion. Along the way, she discovers there is more beyond this merchant and what her true use is for his daughter. Along the way she discovers secrets and information about the Plaustrells’ past. 

Overall, I enjoyed the book because of the concept of betrayal. However, I did not enjoy the beginning as it was progressing too fast and it was clear that the next few chapters would be too predictable. 

The most interesting turning point is when the merchant returns from his travels on Christmas eve. This occurs after his daughter receives a letter from him regarding his return but what she does with the letter is most perplexing. I personally did not enjoy Maria’s character as she is an extremely intelligent child, but she uses that intelligence to discriminate against the less fortunate. This piece of literature is very telling of the 16th century as during that time feuds between Protestants and Catholics was a common problem and is presented throughout the book. 

The plot is light-hearted but predictable after a certain point. What stands out most is this ongoing theme of betrayal and treachery as it breaks trust between the main character and the reader. Towards the end, the aforementioned “small details” form a great plot twist. 

Overall, I would rate this book 8/10 as I really enjoy the betrayal and secrecy that comes with it so I would definitely recommend reading it.

Camille's review

I loved this book! The end…so unexpected. I was engrossed by the rapid flow of twists that came at the end ond how creepy the epilogue was. I am so glad that I chose to read this book. 

4 out of 5 stars.

Morgan's review
When I got this book, I didn’t think it would be my type; but in fact I really enjoyed it! The Pure Heart was full of mystery, suspension and confusion. Once I had read a page, I couldn’t stop until I got to the end of the book, every chapter was a cliff-hanger.

If I was to pick a favourite character, I’d probably choose the merchant. He did play a small part but I created an image of him that seemed quite funny and imagined and very silly accent for him.

I would go on about all the secrets hidden throughout the mansion but I’ll just keep quiet, in case there is anyone reading this who hasn’t read the book. Even if I did explain, I couldn’t write about it as well as Rajia Hassib because of the way she’d put her ideas into context. This is another reason why I’d really recommend the book. To anyone who hasn’t read Rajia Hassib books then you should definitely get one.

I liked how she’d make the build up to the plots and the way the characters solved them. The Pure Heart may seem a little slow at first but once you get into it time moves a lot quicker. An hour seems a minute, 2 seems 10 and so on…

I’d definitely put this in my top 30 favourite books and would possibly buy it for myself (I borrowed it). If I was to recommend the book to an age category, I’d go for advanced 10-12 year olds and above.

Reading this book has made me want to read other genres and themes instead of my usual ones at home. I hope my book review was helpful. 

Sydney's review
I really enjoyed reading this book because it causes a bit of confusion (it has lots twists and turns), and I’ve never read an ending like it! The plot was very exciting as it has a lot of contrasting scenes. One minute our heroine Iseabail is playing with her friend Maria and the next minute they are fighting. Father Ronan is an interesting character because he is supposed to be a priest as well as a teacher to Iseabail and Maria. However, he also works for a merchant whom he doesn’t like. Intriguingly he decides to stay in the merchant’s house, until the last minute…

The thing I didn’t like about the book was I felt a bit sad about the ending (but I won’t give you too many details here). I would have liked Maria’s character to be a little kinder and for the ending to not turn out as it does. I would recommend this book to children aged 8-11 years. The historical detail I learnt about this period and place (the Scottish borderlands) was just how hard it was to ‘cross choppy waters to islands afar’.

Hanna's review
I enjoyed reading this book - it was really interesting and it got me wondering what was going to happen next and there were a few moments in the book when the main character called Iseabail thought there was something sinister about the merchant’s house and the whole story behind the family and it made me really want to find out if there was anything sinister about the house and the merchant and his family or not. 

I found William, who was the stable boy, most interesting because he managed to be one of the many few that managed to survive the plague and for this the people in his village banished him from ever being allowed to go any where near the village again because it was thought that he had some from of the devil in him. Also, he was a mute but how he became a mute or if he was born like that was never told which left that mystery unsolved. When Iseabail and the merchant concocted the potion that was supposed to heal anything, Iseabail didn’t realise that she had touched William’s voice box with her finger that had the remains of the potion and he got his voice back but the first sentence he said was to the girl and he told her to leave the place and never come back because the merchant could not be trusted ever and that she needs to go back home, which I interpreted that the boy must be quite terrified of the place and the merchant. 

The plot was very serious but thrilling at the same time which made read the book to the end but the end was quite disappointing indeed because the merchant and his daughter, who he wanted to cure her from malaise and make sure she would never get the plague, had a happy ending because finding the cure they went back to Venice and Iseabail was left to live in the merchant’s house forever with a new master, which meant quite frankly that she never got to go back home to the island where her mum was, where her sister was, where her fiancé awaited for her. 

I would recommend it to other pupils who like a chilling, dark story that will keep you on your edge and curious to find out what will happen next, and pupils who don’t expect a happy ending.

I also learnt the word opulence which means another word for luxury.

As I have mentioned before I didn’t really like the ending but other than that everything about the book was great to read.

Olivia's review
I love this book because it’s amazing for history lovers.

I would recommend that everyone reads this book because of its dark, chilling atmosphere. 

It’s about a girl who is summoned to watch over a girl who dies of the black plague.

Siya's review
This book is set in the medieval period, which made it even more interesting to me as I have been learning about the medieval world this year and so I could make connections between the things I was learning in the classroom and in the book for example the feudal system.   

Sophie's review
The Pure Heart is set in the haunting Scottish boarderlands, around the time of the plague and is based around them trying to find a cure.

 The merchant orders for a girl of pure heart to be brought to him so she can care for his sick daughter, Maria. Iseabail is the chosen pure heart but is unaware the she is going to be far more than just a companion for Maria. I don’t like the character Maria as she throws big tantrums and bosses everyone around. Iseabail is my favourite character because she is always kind even when Maria hurts her. I can see why she is the pure heart.

When Iseabail finds out the real reason she has been brought to the merchants house she can’t possible believe that it is true and ignores the warnings from the other people, choosing to help the merchant rescue his daughter. When she wakes up she knows she should have listened and run away like William, the stable boy said, but is it too late?

The end of this story brought me to tears and left me feeling very emotional.

I would recommend The Pure Heart to people who like to read dark and chilling stories, unlike lots of stories this doesn’t have the happiest of endings.

It is about a girl called Isabail who is sent to another village to be the companion of a merchants’ daughter. During her time at the village she discovers secrets about her employer and who he truly is. 

Isabail was my favourite character because she wasn’t afraid and was determined to look for the truth, which was even more impressive because medieval women had very limited roles, so she was impressive for her time! My least favourite was the merchant because he was devious and willing to kill innocent people. 

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to children aged 9+.

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