At the House of the Magician - Mary Hooper
I really enjoyed this historical fiction book. It had a lot of mystery in it and the characters are a bit superstitious as it is based in the Elizabethan era.
The main character is Lucy, she lives in a little house with her over-worked mother and her alcoholic father. She is busy selling lavender wands at the market one day, when she is sauntering over to the tent where Lady Ashe is choosing servants to work for her. Her father grabs her by the shoulder and starts shaking her, saying that the money must go to him and that Lucy is not allowed to keep it. Lucy doesn't give him the money for she knows he shall just spend it on alcohol. He stumbles away drunkenly. Lucy runs home to her mother and her mom says she must run away to London, to find work there. Lucy does just that. She is walking by the River Thames, where she sees three small children playing. The youngest one, around five, is drowning. Lucy leaves her little basket of belongings and helps the child, Merryl. She takes them home and finds the two little girls are the daughters of the Queen's magician. Lucy is so excited as all she wants is to serve the Queen of England.
As they are low on servants, Lucy is taken in as a maid. The house is mysterious and the library holds strange objects, such as she's never seen before. She also has dreams in the night, of the queen dying. She tells no one except her good friend Isabelle, for fear of being mistaken and burnt as a witch. When the queen comes to her palace in Richmond, she chooses a few people to come help her in her palace. Lucy is friends with the Jester and he points Lucy out to the Queen. The Queen takes Lucy and talks to her about Mr Dee and how is has given her a potion to take, but Lucy says no that is not right, for Mr Dee had left the house early that morning and wouldn't have had time to deliver it to her. The queen is about to take when Lucy is convinced it is poisoned she knocks it out of the Queen's hand and is locked in the dungeon. However, she is released later when they found out the poison contained hemlock, a poison that stops the heart. Lucy continues to work at the magician's house, but she has a job from the Queen, she is the Queen's spy.
I think this is an enthralling read and you shouldn't miss it! I would recommend this ages 11 +.
9 and a half / 10.