Wednesday, April 14, 2021

THE GOOD THIEVES: An Audio Book Review and Giveaway

 Congratulations to Barbara Younger who won Little Sock Makes A Friend from last week's blog.

I recently listened to a middle-grade audio book that will delight and entertain both girls and boys. The Good Thieves, by Katherine Rundell is an adventure story with a compelling main character and loyal, believable side-kicks.


Vita Marlowe arrives in prohibition-era New York City with her mother in order to help her beloved, grieving grandfather.  He is destitute having recently lost not only his wife, but also his castle home to Sorrotore, a greedy businessman. Vita is convinced that if she can retrieve an emerald buried within the castle, at least her grandfather's financial worries will be over. But how is she going to get inside the well-guarded castle and retrieve the emerald all by herself?

Although Vita had polio as a child and still suffers from pain and discomfort, her physical disability doesn't stop her spunk and determination to reclaim her grandfather's majestic home. Brief flashbacks in the beginning show Vita with her grandfather, ground the reader in her illness and their relationship, and reveal her special talents that will help her out at the end. 

Soon after arriving in New York, Vita meets Arkady (an animal and bird lover) and Samuel (a gymnast) who are traveling with a circus. In addition, she meets Silk, an orphaned pick-pocket. Vita's new friends hear about Vita's dilemma and pledge their help. 

This fast-paced story goes from one scenario to another. Vita is the mastermind of the operation and her three accomplices use their talents to help her accomplish her goal. Readers will want to sit back and applaud Vita for her well-thought out plan! Katherine Rundell has the last word with a story twist which I did not foresee. Afterwards, I recognized the well-place clue that I had ignored in my desire to see what would happen next.

I love a book in which readers are exposed not only to a captivating plot line with terrific stakes and tension, but also in which the reader is exposed to beautiful written language. 

I highly recommend this suspenseful adventure story with lively characters that middle grade readers will enjoy. As a classroom read, it would be interesting to analyze Vita's external conflicts (her bad foot, the bad guys who are always close to capturing her, etc) and internal conflicts (can she eliminate Sorrotore when she actually has the chance?). I'd also love to hear middle school students debate the question: Is it stealing when you take something that belongs to your family?


The narrator, Margaret Cabourn-Smith does a great job portraying the different voices of the characters. From the Russian circus performers to the New York gangster--she's got them all. Here is an audio clip to give you a preview.


Leave a comment by April 16 (with your email address if you are new to my blog) and I'll enter your name to win the download code for this great middle grade read. 


Debbie Allmand said...

WOW a great review! Sounds so interesting. Thanks for sharing this book with all of us.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Debbie. I really enjoyed it.

Danielle H. said...

This is a new book to me and sounds exciting! I love when authors toss a surprising twist in at the end.

Carol Baldwin said...

You would enjoy it, Danielle!

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Your review's convinced me! I need to read this book. Thanks for sharing!

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Your review's convinced me that I need to read this book! Thanks for sharing.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for stopping by, Connie. I've missed seeing your name. You would love this book!

Rosi said...

This sounds like a terrific book. Thanks for telling me about it. I will put it on my list. I will pass on the giveaway since I recently won a book from you.

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol,
Thanks for sharing about the audio book: The Good Thieves. Sounds good. Audible books really help many people. I love listening to stories! This book would be good to listen to.

Do something fun today!
Never Give Up

Carol Baldwin said...

JOan, You and your grandkids would love this book!

Carol Baldwin said...

Rosi, I think you would really enjoy this book. I'm entering your name anyway--you can win 2 books in a row. That's ok with me!

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