Published by Scholastic, 2019.
The Tudor period is one of the best known eras in British history. Elizabeth I, and Henry VIII and his wives capture the popular interest and the Tudor dynasty is perhaps one of the most familiar of our recent past. Any black histories from this period, however, are completely unfamiliar. Diver’s Daughter – A Tudor Story is part of a new series published by Scholastic which reflects the authentic, unsung stories of our past. It is branded as narrative non-fiction. Although the main character (twelve-year-old Eve Cartwright) is fictional, the diver, Jacques Francis, actually existed and the book is based on real events.
The story begins in London’s Southwark. We meet poverty-stricken Eve and her mother, who was kidnapped from Mozambique as a child and sold into slavery by the Portuguese. Patrice Lawrence brilliantly evokes the hustle and bustle of London street life and the hardships and precarious nature of life there. After an incident where Eve nearly the drowns in the Thames but is saved by her mother (a strong and skilful swimmer), they come to the attention of George Symons. He is a survivor of the Mary Rose and is convinced that treasure remains on the wreck of a similar boat in Southampton. He wants Eve’s mother to seek out the help of African free-diver Jacques Francis and dive for this treasure, promising to make her rich. Hoping to escape poverty, Eve and her mother decide to travel to Southampton. Their journey is beset with problems.
When they finally arrive in Southampton, their life there takes many unexpected turns. They find themselves at the mercy of self-serving people and underhand and illegal behaviour. They encounter suspicion and prejudice and Eve starts to believe that they really can trust no-one…
I loved the strength of love between mother and daughter and how much bravery and resilience they both displayed.
Diver’s Daughter – A Tudor Story is a gripping tale full of betrayal, suspense and danger which gives a voice to people previously forgotten or ignored.
Suitable for children aged 8+
Thank you to Scholastic for sending me this book to review.