I was very lucky to get my hands on these copies of the Cat Royal mysteries, as they are only published in Great Britain. A few libraries in the United States have copies, and I was able to borrow them. I love this series because it’s just enough excitement, romance, action, historical fiction, and clean reading to be an awesome series, especially for middle grade readers. I confess, I’m not sure why these are not more popular? I love Cat Royal and her friends, and I especially love the fun fictional quotes in the beginning of the book from time-period famous contemporaries of Cat Royal. You can read my review about the first four books here.
Black Heart of Jamaica (Cat Royal, 5)
After her escapades being press-ganged into service aboard a ship in Her Majesty’s navy, Cat Royal finds herself in Philadelphia with virtually nothing to do. Intent upon making her own way, she and Pedro join a new group of players bound for the Caribbean. Upon their arrival in Jamaica, Pedro is not allowed to disembark to join the troupe as he is African and there is an uprising of slaves over on a neighboring island. Pedro, fortunate to be free, will not be treated well if he was allowed into Jamaica. Already fervent in his hatred of slavery, Pedro searches for any way to join the uprising. Meanwhile, our heroine must learn to be independent even without her faithful almost-brother. Though she was slated for minor parts in the rehearsed plays, she quickly is cast to the forefront in the leading ladies’ roles. Much to her surprise, she rediscovers her old mate, Billy, now turned into a ‘gentleman’ plantation owner and a great admirer of her skills as an actress. Delightful verbal sparring and banter ensue with the always dastardly Billy and the stubbornly righteous Cat, and Cat finds herself in a tangle when Billy gives her a slave. Billy makes it so Cat cannot free her, but neither can she refuse to keep her, as the girl will be put to harsh work. Cat reluctantly keeps her, but determines to do her best to outwit Billy. As a result, Pedro and Cat get in a huge fight, and Pedro disappears. Desperate to know whether he is alright, Cat abandons the theatre group to find him, and what follows is a very interesting adventure. The despicable Mr. Hawkins is back too, and he is out for revenge against Catherine.
Cat’s Cradle (Cat Royal, 6)
In this adventure, Cat heads up to Scotland to find out whether she has any remaining family after new information pops up in London that a woman was posing as Cat’s relative. Cat pretends to be a mill worker to get to know the Moirs, and as she does, she can’t help loving them. However, Mrs. Moir doesn’t like Cat at all. So, instead, with help from another local boy, Jamie, Cat journeys into the moors to find her younger half-brother, Rabbie, who is part of a group of rowdy, uncouth thieves. Once again, her daring lands her into a pot of hot water as the law comes after her and her association with Rabbie’s criminal band. Will Cat finally gain a real family or will the reputation of her half-brother’s relatives tarnish her own good standing?
Once again, fantastic adventures perfect for up and coming middle grade readers! A bit of romance, adventure, and a dose of hearty justice to boot.