Review: Gideon the Cutpurse

Gideon the Cutpurse
Gideon the Cutpurse by Linda Buckley-Archer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book in a trilogy. My 18 yr old daughter picked it out for me, and I was skeptical, but was wonderfully surprised. Although the protagonists are 12 year old kids, the vocabulary and syntax is advanced. Part of the action takes place in present day England, and part in the past, in 1763 Georgian England. Peter, who’s parents are always busy working, goes with his nanny to a friend of her’s farm where they have lots of kids, to spend the weekend. While there he meets Kate, a tomboy his age. When her Dad has to go into work at the local science lab, they ask to go with him, so that Kate can show his partner’s cool new invention to Peter. Once there, Kate’s dog escapes, and while running around looking for her, suddenly everything goes black, and the next thing they know is they wake up in a meadow, a little bruised, but other wise okay. The area looks familiar, but they have no idea of what happened at first. Gradually their memory returns and they recall chasing the dog, and then whoop, waking up here. Hiding in the bushes nearby, is Gideon, a cut-purse and a gentleman, who decided to see who and what the children are, and if they pose a danger. Deciding that they don’t, he approaches them, and asked how they got there. Gradually the story is pasted together, and they tell him the truth. Having witnessed their arrival, he is inclined to believe them, but thinks it is in their best interest not to let others in on this secret in a time when people still believed in witches. Gideon brings them to a nearby manor house, where he is to be employed as the estate keeper, and explains that the children are from abroad, and got set upon by highwaymen, and got separated from their uncle who was traveling to London. The lady of the house takes them in, and her kids take to the new comers well, laughing at their funny clothes. Soon they are rested, fed and dressed in their new finery. Thus begins an enchanting tale of Gideon, a good man who has had misfortunes in life, the evil villainous Tar Man, who stole the device that brought them back to 1763, and the difficulties in living in 1763, and trying to find the device, escape from footpads and more highwaymen, and not end up in gaol. Written in a flowery style of that era when back in 1763, except for the kids, who still think and talk in modern terms, the book catches the flavor of the Georgian period wonderfully, the clothes, the food, the traveling, the dangers, the smells, and the cruelty. It was such a gentle story, and full of the details that I used to love when I read Georgian romances, that it brought me back to them, and made me want to drag them out after about 15 years in storage. Thanks to my daughter for this one. Well done, and I look forward to reading more of their adventures.

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One response to “Review: Gideon the Cutpurse

  1. I loved this book (I read the first one)! Pirates is also very good.