Rebel Girl, by Susan Geasons

‘You have to come home, Big Sister!’ shouted the little girl. ‘Our father wants you. Now!’ The command made Su-Yin’s heart hammer in her chest. What have I done? she wondered. She suddenly felt dizzy. She seldom got enough to eat these days. Her father had been forced to mortgage the farm to a wealthy landowner in order to pay off gambling debts, and now the Chen family were tenant farmers, working for a pittance.

Life on the family farm is difficult and getting worse, but Su-Yin is still stunned when her family sell her into slavery. She makes a new friend on the journey up the Yangtze River to Nanjing, but they are soon separated when Su-Yin is bought to work in the kitchen of a wealthy Manchu official. Su-Yin is relatively fortunate in her new home. Although the cook is grumpy, Su-Yin is taught a trade and treated well. When the city is attacked by Taiping soldiers, Su-Yin flees with the young daughter of the family. It is a dangerous thing to do, and if she is caught, the consequences will be dire.

Fourth in Susan Geason’s historical series, Rebel Girl is set in nineteenth century China. As in the previous offerings, Geason offers a detailed look into a world unfamiliar to most young readers. Thirteen year-old Su-Yin is a sensible and strong-willed girl in a difficult situation. She is both accepting of her fate and determined to make the best of her challenging life. She works hard and is rewarded with the respect of her boss. Su-Yin shows great courage and resourcefulness when the Taiping army invades the city. This is a fast-moving, action-packed adventure, recommended for 8-12 year old readers.

Rebel Girl

Rebel Girl, by Susan Geason
ABC Books 2007
ISBN: 9780733321733

Flight of the Falcon by Susan Geason

Sybilla, daughter of a knight, has spent the past three years living in the Duke of Normandy’s castle. Here she and her cousin learn the skills required of a noblewoman. Their settled life is disrupted when war threatens and Sybilla is sent home to her mother. She sets off on her journey, little prepared for the challenges she will face.

Susan Geason takes a detailed look at history, bringing political and domestic details to life through the eyes of an adolescent girl. This story is appealing and fast moving. It will appeal to upper-primary readers. One small quibble is that the girl on the front cover looked thoroughly modern despite the internal descriptions of the restrictive veils that were worn in public.

Flight of the Falcon by Susan Geason
Little Hare 2006 isbn:1921049367

Death of a Princess, by Susan Geason

Meryet-Neith was pleased with herself. The frankincense and myrrh she had brought from the merchant were fresh and aromatic, and, after a great deal of haggling, she had obtained them at a fair price. She re-entered the harem through the front gates, passing the massive Nubian doormen, and set off through the central courtyard garden towards her workroom.

Meryet – the beautician to Pharaoh’s wives and concubines – may be feeling good about her plans to make a new perfume, but this good feeling soon passes when she learns of the illness of her friend Isis, Pharaoh’s daughter. Isis is ailing fast and neither Meryet, nor Isis’ servants, know what is wrong with her. When Isis dies, Meryet knows that suspicion may fall on her.

What follows is a tense few days as Meryet and her friends try to piece together the mystery of Isis’ death. Could someone have poisoned her or did she die of natural causes? And who would hate Isis enough to kill her?

Death of a Princess is an intriguing historical mystery, set in Ancient Egypt, during the reign of Ramses II. Author Susan Geason weaves a web of mystery and intrigue, with enough clues for young readers to unravel the mystery.

Suitable for readers aged 10 to 14.

Death of a Princess, by Susan Geason
Little Hare, 2005