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Publisher's Summary

Fans of Karen Cushman's witty, satisfying novels will welcome Meggy Swann, newly come to London with her only friend, a goose named Louise.

Meggy's mother was glad to be rid of her; her father, who sent for her, doesn't want her after all. Meggy is appalled by London,dirty and noisy, full of rogues and thieves, and difficult to get around in - not that getting around is ever easy for someone who walks with the help of two sticks.

Just as her alchemist father pursues his Great Work of transforming base metal into gold, Meggy finds herself pursuing her own transformation. Earthy and colorful, Elizabethan London has its dark side, but it also has gifts in store for Meggy Swann.

©2010 Karen Cushman (P)2010 Listening Library

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Higly recomended

If you could sum up Alchemy and Meggy Swann in three words, what would they be?

This is a story about the alchemy of the human spirit. Meggy Swann makes the transformation from a hidden away defensive crippled girl, to a kind and generous, strong and confident young woman as she moves from her mother’s house in the country to her father’s house in the city of London.

What does Katherine Kellgren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Katherine Kellgren’s voice lends itself well to that of an adolescent teenage girl, and her narration is faultless for all other character, as always.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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Great story, not my favorite narration

If you could sum up Alchemy and Meggy Swann in three words, what would they be?

Really fun coming of age story about a girl who had to learn to "stand on her own two feet" even when they don't work quite as well as they should. Meggy learns that family doesn't equal love and safety, but that finding good friends to help you through life are a wonderful gift.

Did Katherine Kellgren do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Wasn't a big fan of the narration, especially did not enjoy her representation of Meggy. But didn't "not" enjoy it enough to stop listening. I've read the book several times on my own and simply enjoy the story itself.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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Shrill reader; sensitive author

I was very impressed by the realistic view of Elizabethan London. Also by the no-nonsense approach to the protagonist's life. The portrayal of a person with a disability as neither sappily brave a-la Tiny Tim nor evil nor magically cured at the end is refreshing, highly unusual and shows remarkable insight, emotional subtlety and sensitivity on the part of the author. The language had a great feel of the time.
I have only two complaints. The book was just a little darker than I could have wished, and the reader was way too dramatic. Her drama was perfect for dramatic parts, but she tended to use a semi-hysterical voice to express minor quandaries, which put my teeth on edge a lot.
Overall a high quality book, and one I would strongly recommend for the 10 to 18 set. (I am loooong past that!)

0 of 1 people found this review helpful