The Double Life of Cora Parry by Angela McCallister is set in a gritty Victorian world where the reader can almost smell the streets of London which are seething with danger and violence, where pawn shops and fences deal with thieves and where urchins, such as a girl called Fletch, live on their wits like wild animals with little moral conscience.
Cora Parry is the orphan once saved from the workhouse as a small child, only to find herself back on the streets when her foster parents die. Determined not to return to the sordid poverty of her past, Cora tries her very best to find some honest employment and only when that endeavour fails is she trapped in Fletch’s persuasive spell, living in a den of thieves and committing crimes of her own to survive – though to overcome the shame and disgrace she creates an alter ego called Carrie, going on to develop a split personality in which the two characters overlap and struggle to take control of her mind.
With themes of identity, madness and loss, Angela McCallister skilfully weaves a compelling psychological tale that will entertain and educate all young adult (and older) readers who share an interest in history.
It’s beautifully written too.
Angela McAllister has written over thirty children’s books. She lives in Hampshire with her husband and their two children who are often the inspiration for her stories.