Title: The Hatmakers
Writer: Tamzin Merchant, illustrated by Paola Escobar
Publishing House: Norton Young Readers
Date of Publication: January 7th 2021
Rating: 5 stars
‘’It was a wild and lightning-struck night. The kind of night that changes everything. Jagged forks of light ripped across the sky and thunder rolled in tidal waves over the rooftops and spires of London.’’
Georgian London. Cordelia is the youngest member of the honourable family of the Hatmakers, one of the Makers ‘’Houses’’ that are entrusted with the duty of creating the clothes of the royal family. This is a turbulent time. Cordelia’s father, Prospero, is lost at sea and the threat of a war between England and France is always looming. King George is…well, king George, and the duty of the protection of the country has fallen on the shoulders of the kind Princess Georgina. Treachery and revenge have set a dangerous game in motion and our Cordelia is at the heart of this magnificent adventure.
‘’Isn’t keeping secrets sort of what got everyone into this big mess in the first place?’, Cordelia asked. Goose shifted in his boots. ‘My aunt told that the seventh star in the Makers’ crests means we’re stronger when we all work together; we’re best when we’re united.’’
This is the first instalment in a series of adventures centred around Cordelia Hatmaker, one of the most brilliant child-protagonists you’ll ever meet. Tamzin Merchant has created an absolutely beautiful, magical story of a world where hats can help people or harm them in terrible ways, where the mood and intentions of each are reflected on each creation. Where family, loyalty and peace have to stand firm against greed, despair, treachery and war, the greatest Malice of all. Where one can understand that you are never too young to set things right.
This was an amazing reading journey, perfect for Christmas and beautiful wintry nights. Written in beautiful language, full of elegant, smart, refreshing humour. The scene of Sir Hugo’s visit to the Hatmakers’ shop was pure perfection and I was delighted to see a sentence in perfect Modern Greek. The atmosphere of London was brilliantly depicted and the marvellous twists and surprises won’t disappoint you. Sprinkled with Shakespearean references, beautiful illustrations by Paola Escobar and including a Glossary of the magic Ingredients and a very serious note of caution of their menacing cousins, this book is an unforgettable adventure.
I can’t wait for Spring 2022.
‘’Forgotten magic is like a flower in winter. It disappears down into the depths of the person, and anyone looking could be forgiven for thinking it has gone away completely. But it hasn’t gone – it just has to be woken up again.’’
Many thanks to Penguin Random House Children’s UK and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.