Poisoned Press, Oct 2002, 24.95, 219 pp.
Around the time of the coronation of Elizabeth I, Soho London is a working class neighborhood. It is a place in which children like seven years old Maggie feels safe and secure. In the way children seem to know more than adults believe possible, Rosie realizes that Uncle Bert and Aunt Maggie are not he real parents. However, when a classmate nastily points out that truism, Rosie becomes frightened that her real mother will take her away from the nurturing adults she loves.
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Bert and Maggie love Rosie as if she is their own blood and worry about the same thing that scares their little girl. They hire the local lawyer to write up adoption papers and obtain the signature of the perfumed lady. Rosie feels a lot better to know she is adopted, but that does not stop her biological family from trying to use her as a tool to manipulate the perfumed lady.
The narrator is a seven year old child who provides a fascinating look at the Elizabethan world though at times she seems a bit too mature and wise for her age yet readers genuinely care for her as if she is a real little girl. Pip Granger makes her characters feel like people by having her cast struggle and cope with problems so that the audience obtains a taste of reality in a bygone era that is usually disguised by pomp and glitter.