Tuesday 3 April 2012

Road to London by Barbara Mitchelhill

Pages - 243
Published by Anderson Press

One summer's day when I was thirteen, something amazing happened. For months I had dreamed of a new life far away from Stratford. An actor's life. An exciting life filled with fame and fortune. And that afternoon, that summer's day, was when it all began. 
Goodreads Summary
Thomas dreams of becoming an actor, and when Shakespeare comes home to Stratford, Thomas's life changes forever.

Thomas is desperate to join 'the players', he'll do anything to watch them perform, even skip school and risk a caning. But when Thomas's rule breaking gets him in trouble with more than just his school master, he has to flee his home and make his way to London. Here he meets his hero, Shakespeare, and his players. But behind the excitement of the theatres is a grimy world of deception, poison and treason. Will Thomas manage to uncover the plot in time? And will he manage to save Shakespeare from a fate worse than death?
From page one I felt like I had stepped back into the 16th century. Barbara Mitchelhill has a created historical fiction dripping in atmosphere, bursting with vivid and detailed descriptions allowing us to see the world as William Shakespeare would have. You can tell that a huge amount of research must have gone into this book by the details concerning the Globe Theatre, the Queen's secret visits right down to the state of William Shakespeare's teeth.
I loved the way the author brought this period to time; the descriptions of life in school, the wall around London, really captured my imagination. The description of the bakery in Pudding Lane, really caught my attention and I came away wondering if what life really was like in London before the Great Fire of London.
The plot is absorbing, riveting and fast paced. You will find Thomas an excellent travelling companion as he perilously flees to London in search of fame and fortune.  The characters are entertaining as well as hilarious at times. Alice was definitely the one I liked the most; such a fiery female character who would stand up to the most evil of villains. Mother Troute is comical, definitely a delightful addition to the story. 
Just as I mentioned in my review of  the author's previous book Run Rabbit Run, Road To London would make an excellent resource for the classroom. I believe any class studying Shakespeare would find this a useful addition to their learning. I am convinced that Barbara is a cunning magician, who cleverly masks historical detail with gripping plots, teaching children details of the past without them realising. 


  1. Oh, run rabbit run? I missed that, bad me. Certainly different this time around


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