Friday 19 October 2018

A Discovering Diamonds review of Rose Rivers by Jacqueline Wilson

Book 2 of the Hetty Feather series

Young Adult

Rose Rivers lives in a beautiful house with her artist father, her difficult, fragile mother and her many siblings. She has everything money can buy - but she’s not satisfied. Why can’t she be sent away to a good school like her twin brother?  Why can’t she learn to become a famous artist like her father or his friend Paris Walker? Why is life so unfair for people who were not born rich? When a young girl, Clover Moon, joins the household as a nursemaid to Rose’s troubled sister Beth, Rose finds a true friend for the first time and she starts to learn more about the world outside. Will Rose finally achieve her dreams? And will she be able to help Clover find her own dream?

I so enjoy Jacqueline Wilson’s historical flavoured novels – I wish we had been able to discover history in this style while I was at school back in the 1960s! 

Thirteen-year-old Rose Rivers has everything that money can buy and lives in a beautiful house with her artist father, six siblings and self-centred mother. Unfortunately there are lots of things that money cannot buy. When her beloved twin brother returns from boarding school he has changed into a young gentleman but Rose is still thin, unattractive and poorly educated. She loves her satirical drawings – but who else will do so? And then the artist, Paris Walker, comes into her life… as does nursery-maid Clover Moon who also has a talent as an artist.

Rose is growing up, and she has so many questions to ask: why are girls treated differently to boys, why can she not be friends with the servants, why…why…why?

I was delighted to meet Clover Moon again (see our review Clover Moon) and Jacqueline Wilson is so skilled at not only conveying the social structure of Victorian life, but takes us into the minds of her characters so that the readers – young adults of 10+ years – may also start questioning today’s social inequalities.

My only (very big) gripe is the price. The Kindle edition at £8.99 is more expensive  than the hardcopy (£8.74) with the paperback at £6.99. I’m sorry Ms Wilson, but this sort of pricing annoys me – especially for children’s books. We are trying to encourage our youngsters to read, unlike most adults, many prefer e-books to the real thing but very few youngsters could afford £8.99.

Once a book is formatted and placed on Amazon (or wherever)… a one-off task for the publisher, there is little more to do (except collect the royalties) There is no paper involved to run up costs in an e-book, there are no delivery costs, no overheads for a bookstore to absorb – just how does mainstream justify an e-book being priced at £8.99? When are mainstream publishers going to realise that it is an absolute rip-off to charge MORE for an e-book than the hardback copy? So for the price: 4 stars

My strong advice to readers … get the book from your local or school library!

© Helen Hollick

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