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|Wicked and the just|
Author: Coats, Jillian Anderson
In medieval Wales, follows Cecily whose family is lured by cheap land and the duty of all Englishmen to help keep down the "vicious" Welshmen, and Gwenhwyfar, a Welsh girl who must wait hand and foot on her new English mistress.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.00
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 150931
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 17.0 Quiz: 57313
School Library Journal (00/05/12)
The Hornbook (00/03/12)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/01/2012 In 1293, Cecily and her father leave Coventry, England, to settle in Caernarvon, Wales, where the king offers opportunities to those who will settle in the newly conquered land. Lonely, miserable, and willful, Cecily tries to assert her authority as the lady of the house, only to be thwarted by the housekeeper and Gwenhwyfar, a servant girl her own age. Over the next year, Cecily begins to understand more about the town and the grievances of the Welsh starving outside its walls, but nothing prepares her for the savage sack of Caernarvon. In this intriguing first novel, the main narrative is Cecily’s, but passages written from Gwenhwyfar’s point of view provide a startling contrast and foreshadow the story’s climax. Cecily is a flawed protagonist who grows throughout the story, yet stoical Gwenhwyfar is the more sympathetic character. Their shifting relationship strengthens the story, while Coats’ considerable research provides details of everyday life that ground this dark and sometimes brutal historical novel. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2012 Gr 6–9—Set in 13th-century North Wales 10 years after the English takeover, this is an instantly gripping story of injustice spawned by subjugation. Cecily, an English girl, tells readers from the outset that her life has been ruined now that she has been uprooted to live among "savages," as she calls the Welsh. Gwenhwyfar is a servant to Cecily, who assumes that she is to be the lady of the house and demands to be treated accordingly. Gwinny resents Cecily, referring to her throughout her narrative as "the Brat." Fleshed-out, multidimensional characters breathe life into this little-known period. Coats's cinematic prose immerses readers in medieval life as she vividly depicts the animosity between the Welsh and the English. Though both young teens are strong and opinionated, they feel victimized, and their determination and will to survive are clearly voiced. While Cecily is cruel to Gwinny at times, she also expresses occasional compassion for her and intercedes anonymously to help her and her family. Even in her haughtiness, Cecily disdains her father's fawning to impress those in power and is disapproving when he reduces promised wages to Welshmen by half. Gwinny also shows some compassion for Cecily when she saves her from a potentially bad match with a scoundrel. This debut novel reverberates with detail, drama, and compassion. The appended historical note is helpful; it's unfortunate that there is no glossary of unusual terms. Fans of Karen Cushman's The Midwife's Apprentice (1995) and Catherine, Called Birdy (1994, both Clarion) will surely be drawn to this unique story.—Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.