Title: The Pearl Thief
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Disclaimer: I received a copy free from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Before Verity, and before Queenie, there was Julie Beaufort-Stuart. It’s 1938 and Julie Beaufort-Stuart is heading back to her family’s ancestral home, the Strathfearn estate, in Perthshire. Her grandfather’s death and debts have led to the forced sale of the estate, all the belongings, and Julie’s childhood goes with it. But not just that, the McEwens family, a Scottish Traveller family, have been a part of the landscape for as long as Julie remembers. Their families and the estate go back generations. However, a man is missing and presumed murdered, and it’s the McEwens, who are loathed by all but her family, that are assumed to be the culprits. But Julie is determined to prove her friends innocent, as well as figuring out where her family’s missing pearls have gone…
The Pearl Thief is a prequel to Code Name Verity, but it can be read completely separate from Code Name Verity as both a stand-alone or as an introduction to Verity. I also appreciated the different setting and atmosphere.
Anyway, I LOVED The Pearl Thief. I loved that we got to see Julie in a completely different setting and light. We got to see her without all her trauma and pain. We got to see how she became that brilliant and angry Scotswoman we all fell in love with in Code Name Verity. We finally saw how she became Queenie, a nickname given to her by Ellen, the stubborn and passionate Scottish traveller who initially clashes with Julie, but they slowly grow feelings for each other.
Most people who follow me already know I’m a huge fan of Code Name Verity and Julie Beaufort-Stuart. Her compelling narrative, her cleverness and wit, her stubbornness and anger, and her love and her passion. We see all of this in The Pearl Thief, which is what made it a gripping read. We see Julie develop a lot in The Pearl Thief, we see her learning how to utilise her intelligence, and we see her finding her skill for manipulation, we see her develop new friendships and overcome prejudices. It really does help you appreciate the Verity we knew in Code Name Verity as we see her backstory. I also loved Ellen. She was passionate about archaeology and history, smart and ambitious, and persevered in the face of the hate she received. I enjoyed the insight into both Julie and Ellen’s family histories and how their families go back for generations.
The word bisexual isn’t featured, but Julie does show an interest in both men and women, and her primary love interest is a girl. I loved the exploration of Julie and her sexuality, which is only shown in subtext in Code Name Verity, but also I loved seeing this exploration while also bearing in mind the conservative societal and familial morals and norms of the time period.
Fans of Code Name Verity will no doubt love The Pearl Thief. We get more of an insight and backstory into our beloved Julie and how she became the woman we know and love.
Megan (pronounced MEE-GAN bc her Irish grandfather refused to use the English pronunciation) is a 21 year old british blogger, history graduate, lover of books and expert procrastinator. She is anxious and introverted and is currently attempting adulthood. She loves potatoes which is often blamed on her irish heritage and can often eat her weight in food. She predominantly reads and reviews YA which includes historical fiction, science fiction, contemporary, and f/f romance. She loves reading about unlikeable female characters, positive female friendships & relationships, and is a sucker for a pretty cover.